Aid agency World Vision has welcomed the launch of a UK Government campaign to raise awareness about the risks of forced marriage – and pledged to continue tackling the causes of such abuse in communities abroad.
The Foreign Office warns that summer holidays are a peak time for young people to taken overseas and made to marry against their will.
World Vision has been working for more than 20 years across the globe to help communities achieve law and policy reforms on the issue, and raise awareness of the risks among young people.
Erica Hall, Senior Child Rights Advisor for World Vision UK, said: “Forcing children to marry is child abuse and we shouldn’t be afraid to tackle the attitudes and root causes – which are often linked to poverty.
“It has a devastating impact on both boys and girls, physically and emotionally as children are kept out of school and may have little control over their lives and futures. We see this every day in the countries we work like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Somalia.
“But this is an issue that’s right on our doorstep too, so we need to work alongside the UK government to tackle it head-on.”
The government’s campaign comes as World Vision UK embarks on a major research project to better understand how conflict and hunger may increase the rate of child marriage, and lead to children getting married at an earlier age.
World Vision works on the issue in a number of countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Chad, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and Zambia.
13 July 2012