OPINION: “…that is one child more who is robbed of their childhood and all sense of rights”

By Fila Magnus

This opinion piece is part of a series written by our #Youth members, for our Voices of Children & Young People Around the World report.

 

The Asia Pacific region has made great strides in the decline of child marriages, but the region remains home to the largest total number of child brides, carrying more than 40 percent of the global struggle.

Based on existing datasets, child marriage has been reported to be the third highest cause of contact under the category of violence that local child helplines receive in the Asia Pacific region. The calls received on the issue were 10 times more frequently from girls, or on behalf of girls. Although the data available has its limitations in determining the exact point of contact, it is highly plausible that these calls stem especially from children in rural areas. If so, this brings about a cause for even greater concern: do these children have access to other sources of help and support than just the child helplines? Though child marriage may only be 1 in 5 calls pertaining to violence that is received, that is one child more who is robbed of their childhood and all sense of rights, and will likely result in a never ending cycle of violence. And as it currently stands, it is 12 million girls (per year) too many.

As we continue to inch closer to 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, it’s impertinent that we ensure the number of child marriages continue to decline even further. As members of an international community, we play an important role in ensuring that children are no longer at risk of poverty or harmful cultural practices. What greater time to put an end to these, than right this moment.

 

Fila Magnus is a member of Child Helpline International’s #Youth advisory council.