Instances of Child marriages declining, says UNICEF

New Delhi: According to the estimates of UNICEF, in the past decade 25 million child marriages have been prevented worldwide.

A decade ago, one in four girls were married before they reached 18 years of age. Now the UNICEF estimates reveal that one in five girls are now married before they are 18.

According to the news reported in ibtimes, the highest reduction in child marriages is reported in South Asian Countries.

The reduction in child marriages in India has been achieved by better education for girls and also awareness campaigns regarding the harmful effects of child marriages.

The child marriage problem is most severe in Africa and the burden is shifting towards Sub-Saharan Africa.

Anju Malhotra, Unicef’s principal gender adviser, said that given the life-changing impact child marriage had on a girl’s life, “any reduction is welcome news – but we’ve got a long way to go”.

She further added that “When a girl is forced to marry as a child she faces immediate and lifelong consequences.”

“Her odds of finishing school decrease while her odds of being abused by her husband and suffering complications during pregnancy increase. There are also huge societal consequences, and higher risk of intergenerational cycles of poverty.”

Under the UN Sustainable development goals, world leaders pledged to end child marriage by 2030. To achieve this target, Anju Malhotra said that efforts had to be stepped up “to prevent millions of girls having their childhoods stolen through this devastating practice”.