Unicef is orgnaising a major summit in London on July 22 to discuss a new strategy to protect girls from abuse.
The organisation in a statement said: Child, early and forced marriage affects millions of girls every year. One in three girls in developing countries is married by the age of 18. Some are as young as eight. Girls who marry young have babies while still children, putting them at risk of death or suffering for the rest of their lives. They are more likely to be poor and stay poor. In the UK, hundreds of girls risk being forced into marriage, violating their human rights. Forced marriage victims can suffer physical, psychological, emotional, financial and sexual abuse.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) removes a girl’s right to have control over her own body. Traditionally considered essential for marriage and inclusion in the community, it is an extreme and violent way in which girls are controlled and disempowered. It can result in a lifetime of pain and difficulty in childbirth. Trends suggest at least 30 million girls will be at risk over the next decade – with more than 20,000 at risk in the UK every year.
The Girl Summit on 22 July will rally a global movement to end child, early and forced marriage and FGM for all girls within a generation. Doing this will help preserve girls’ childhoods, promote their education, reduce their exposure to violence and abuse, and allow them to fulfil their potential in life. Everyone has a part to play in achieving rights for girls and women around the world. Take a stand against FGM and child marriage today – pledge your support. Your voices will be heard at the #GirlSummit.
Find out more about child, early and forced marriage at the Too Young To Wed exhibition at the London School of Economics, from 21 July to 1 August.