Before you finish reading this article, 10 underage girls would have been married
The analysis report makes use of previous data gathered by the United Nations to measure the scale and frequency of underage marriages worldwide.
"Child marriage starts a cycle of disadvantage that denies girls the most basic rights to learn, develop and be children,» says Helle Thorning-Schmidt, chief executive officer of Save the Children International.
“Girls who marry too early often can’t attend school, and are more likely to face domestic violence, abuse and rape. They fall pregnant and are exposed to STIs including HIV. They also bear children before their bodies are fully prepared, which can have devastating consequences on their and their baby’s health.”
Girls as young as 10 were found to be marrying significantly older men, sometimes in their 60s and 70s.
The legal age of marriage in Ghana is 18, however, the illegality of child marriage is prevalent in many communities in northern Ghana. The study also found that the trend was taking a nationwide dimension with increased cases in the Western, Brong Ahafo and Eastern regions.
Ending child marriage is one of the pet projects being undertaken by Ghana’s first lady, Lordina Mahama.
The Gambia recently proposed a legislation that would make child marriage a crime that attracts a 20 year jail sentence for the men and 10 years for those who fail to report incidents.