The United Nations Population Fund released a report in April this year titled “Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Family Planning and Ending Gender-based Violence, Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriage”. According to the report, the COVID-19 pandemic would result in 13 million additional child marriages worldwide, over the next decade.
Media reports show a sharp increase in child marriages during the COVID-19 lockdown in states such as Karnataka and Maharashtra. Other states like Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have also witnessed a sharp increase in the number of child marriages during the lockdown period.
To understand the spike in the number of child marriages amid the coronavirus pandemic, Kunika Balhotra, our Research & Communications Officer reached out to representatives of nonprofits working in child rights space- Prabhat Kumar from Save the Children who lead the Child Protection portfolio which measures and builds structures to prevent and respond to abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence affecting children and Kumar Nilendu, General Manager, Development Support at ( CRY (Child Rights & You) . I also reached out to Mr BP Suryavanshi from Kalapandhari NGO which is CRY’s partner organisation from the past 20 years in Maharashtra and the Concerned for Working Children which is a not-for-profit secular, democratic development agency based in Bangalore.