Child marriages on decline but 12 million girls still married every year

By Madison Park, CNN

Countries where child marriage is most prevalent

* The child marriage rate is the percentage of women 20-24 years old who were first married before they were 18. The number of child marriages is the number of women aged 20 to 24 years old who were married before they were 18.
Source: Girls Not Brides


Globally, one in five women are married before they turn 18 years old. A decade ago, the rate had been one in four, UNICEF said Tuesday.
“While South Asia has led the way on reducing child marriage over the last decade, the global burden of child marriage is shifting to sub-Saharan Africa,” according to UNICEF.
One in three recently married child brides are now in sub-Saharan Africa, compared to one in five a decade ago Sherry Johnson was raped, pregnant and married by 11. Now she’s fighting to end child marriage in America
Poverty, ideas of family honor, social norms, customs and religious laws are factors that could force girls into child marriages.
But the consequences can be devastating. Marriages can rob girls of their childhood, compromise their development and put them at risk of early and complicated pregnancies. They often pay a heavy price in not getting an education or access to proper health care and economic opportunities.
Child marriages also occur in the US, and remains legal in every state because of a hodgepodge of exceptions that let minors get married with parental consent or judicial approval.