A new research from child rights group “Save the Children” has found Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and Chad has some of the highest rates of child marriage worldwide.
According to the research, 1.7 million child marriages take place in these countries annually. This is one of the highest scopes universally.
Worldwide, approximately 7.5 million girls are married illegally every year. Statistics from the research also showed that 100 million girls are not cosseted against such marriages by the laws in their respective countries.
The research also exposed that 20,000 girls are married daily below the minimum age permitted by national laws.
A growing number of countries are raising the legal age of marriage or getting rid of exceptions under the law that permit early marriage with parental consent or court consent. Nevertheless, executing such laws is difficult.
Innate customs and beliefs mean that most traditional leaders in communities frequently support the practice.
Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO of Save the Children International, said: “We will not see a world where girls and boys have t equal opportunities to be successful in life until we get rid of child marriage.
“When a girl gets married too young, her responsibility as a wife and a mother takes over. She is more prone to do away with school, she may become expectant and experience abuse,” she added.
The investigation by Save the Children and the World Bank is calling for critical action to deal with child marriage at both the national and international levels.
Legal reform to set the age for marriage at a minimum of 18 and eliminating exceptions are needed.
But in addition, national strategies with ingenious targeted intervention are also considered necessary, particularly to facilitate girls to remain in school as a feasible alternative to marriage.
The result comes prior to an African-led conference on ending child marriage to take place in Senegal from the October 23-25.