The 10 countries with the highest child marriage prevalence rates around the world are either fragile or extremely fragile states.¹
Six of them are in West and Central Africa, where 41% of girls marry before the age of 18.²
Child brides are more likely to experience physical, sexual, psychological and emotional abuse.
To end gender-based violence and violence against children, we need to end child, early and forced marriage and unions.
This is the story of Gloria,³ in her own words.
This story was created with Girls Not Brides member organisation, Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum (UYAHF). UYAHF is a youth-led and youth-serving organisation that seeks to advance the health, rights and wellbeing of adolescent girls, young women and young people at community and national levels. They have a particular focus on sexual reproductive health and rights, gender equality, women and girls’ empowerment, and youth livelihoods and operate in over 15 districts in Uganda. They implement activities that address teenage pregnancy, child marriage, post-abortion care, the promotion of positive social norms and behaviours, youth empowerment and capacity building for youth-led organisations, among others.
¹OECD States of Fragility 2020.
²UNICEF child marriage database.
³Name changed to protect her identity.
Illustration: Girls Not Brides/Gucora Andu
Child marriage and violence against children
Find out more about the links between child marriage and violence against children around the world through the Girls Not Brides brief Child Marriage: A form of Violence Against Children and use the Out of the Shadows Index to explore in-depth data on child sexual abuse across 60 countries around the world.
Girls Not Brides also have resources with more details about child marriage in humanitarian contexts and COVID-19 and child marriage in West and Central Africa in our Resource Centre.
In the time it has taken to read this article 18 girls under the age of 18 have been married
Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18
That is 23 girls every minute
Nearly 1 every 2 seconds