Campaigners warn that the pandemic could undo decades of work to end child marriage
Four million girls are at risk of child marriage in the next two years because of the new coronavirus pandemic, a global charity said on Friday, as campaigners warned that the crisis could undo decades of work to end the practice.
"When you have any crisis like a conflict, disaster or pandemic rates of child marriage go up," the charity's child marriage expert Erica Hall told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Campaigners said the risks were exacerbated by the fact that schools were closed and organisations working to combat child marriage were finding it harder to operate during lockdowns.
Girls Not Brides, a global partnership of 1,400 organisations working to end child marriage, said members were extremely worried.
World Vision's Hall said there was already anecdotal evidence of a rise in child marriages in South Sudan, Afghanistan and India, where the charity recently worked with police to stop seven marriage after calls to helplines.