With up to 117 million children estimated to fall into poverty in 2020, many will face pressure to work and help provide for their families.
The pandemic led to school closures and “experience during the Ebola outbreak suggests many girls will never return” to class due “to increasing pressure to work, risk of child marriage, bans on pregnant girls attending school, and lost contact with education,” the charity wrote.
This year, 191,200 girls in South Asia will be disproportionately affected by the risk of increased child marriage, the report says. It is followed by West and Central Africa, where 90,000 girls are at risk of child marriage, Latin America and the Caribbean (73,400), and Europe and Central Asia (37,200).
Girls affected by humanitarian crises, such as wars, floods and earthquakes, face the greatest risk of child marriage, the report notes. Before the pandemic, data showed child marriage was increasing among refugee populations. In Lebanon, child marriage among Syrian refugee girls rose by 7% between 2017 and 2018.
“Every year, around 12 million girls are married, 2 million before their 15th birthday,” Ashing said. “Half a million more girls are now at risk of this gender-based violence this year alone — and these only are the ones we know about. We believe this is the tip of the iceberg.”