A quarter of the world’s women were child brides, Turkey one of highest rates in Europe.

A quarter of the world’s married women were child brides. (Statista).

Over one quarter of women in the world have been child brides. This depressing statistic was announced by Unicef, who surveyed women aged between 20 and 24 in 122 countries, covering 79 percent of the global population of womenThe results reveal the drastic scale of child marriage around the globe. 

Such practices were found to be most prevalent in South Asia, where 44 percent of women surveyed had been a child bride – 17 percent were under the age of 15 at the time. 

At the current rate, girlsnotbrides.org estimates that there will be an additional 1.2 billion girls married globally by 2050.

Turkey has one of the highest rates of child marriage in Europe with an estimated 14% of girls married before the age of 18.

However, statistical data available may not be representative of the scale of the issue since most child marriages are unregistered and take place as unofficial religious marriages.

The crisis in Syria and subsequent influx of refugees into Turkey and other neighboring countries has caused a dramatic rise in the number of child marriages.

Child marriage increases dramatically in emergencies due to increased poverty levels and a need to reduce household expenditure as well as parents wanting to protect their daughter’s honour and avoid sexual harassment and violence in an increasingly fragile environment.

A UNHCR survey conducted in 2014 revealed that the average age of marriage for Syrian refugee girls in Turkey was between 13 and 20 years with many respondents saying if they had the money, they would not have resorted to marrying off their daughters at such a young age. Read the full story here.