MANILA, Philippines - More than 140 million girls will become child brides between 2011 and 2020, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said yesterday.
If current levels of child marriages hold, the UNFPA said 14.2 million girls annually or 39,000 daily will marry too young.
Furthermore, of the 140 million girls who will marry before the age of 18, 50 million will be under the age of 15.
Despite the physical damage to and persistent discrimination of young girls, little progress has been made toward ending the practice of child marriage.
In fact, the problem threatens to increase with the expanding youth population in the developing world.
“Child marriage is an appalling violation of human rights and robs girls of their education, health and long-term prospects,” said Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the UNFPA.
“A girl who is married as a child is one whose potential will not be fulfilled. Since many parents and communities also want the very best for their daughters, we must work together and end child marriage.”