The coronavirus pandemic will put 500,000 girls at risk of being forced into child marriage this year, according to a new analysis by Save the Children International.
The child-advocacy organization warns that up to 2.5 million more girls could be at risk of child marriage over the next five years because of the pandemic, which they say would be the biggest such surge in 25 years. Those figures are in addition to pre-coronavirus projections of 12 million girls being forced into marriage this year.
“The pandemic means more families are being pushed into poverty, forcing many girls to work to support their families, to go without food, to become the main caregivers for sick family members and to drop out of school—with far less of a chance than boys ever returning,” said Inger Ashing, CEO of Save the Children International.
As of Thursday, roughly 34 million coronavirus cases have been recorded globally, including more than 1 million deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.