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Forced Marriage

Forced Marriage

What is Forced Marriage?

Child, early and forced marriage is a human rights violation and a harmful practice.  It disproportionately affects women and girls globally, preventing them from living their lives free from all forms of violence.  It threatens the lives and futures of girls and women around the world, robbing them of their ability to make decisions about their own lives, it disrupts their education, thus making them more vulnerable to violence, discrimination and abuse.  It also prevents their full participation in economic, political and social spheres. 

Why does it happen?

There are many reasons for forced marriage.  In some parts of the world, young girls and women are forced to marry in exchange for payment to their families, through poverty, the cancellation of debt, or even to settle family disputes.

How prevalent is it?

Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18.

That is 23 girls every minute.

Nearly 1 every 3 seconds.

What are some of the problems?

Often Child marriage results in early and frequent pregnancy and childbirth. Women and girls frequently attempt to flee their communities or to commit suicide to avoid or escape the marriage.  A child who is forced into marriage is likely to suffer significant harm through physical, sexual as well as emotional abuse.

Predatory Marriage

This is a newly recognised form of abuse.  Read more about predatory marriage here.


For more information