Child marriage has long been an issue in the Middle East, but you may be surprised to hear that it is not limited to the region.

It occurs in every corner of the globe, including the United States.

Globally, UNICEF claims 39,000 child marriages occur daily. While one in three girls in the developing world are forced into marriage before the age of 18. 

1 in 9 girls is forced into marriage before her 15th birthday
Source: pinterest

So how do people really feel about child marriages? 

Three social experiments were conducted in different parts of the globe to see how people would react to such a happening: One in New York, USA, one in Beirut, Lebanon, and one in Mumbai, India. 

The findings were interesting. 

New York, USA

Beirut, Lebanon

Mumbai, India

But even with the general public frowning upon child marriages, most governments in the world still allow it. 

The World Economic Forum states that 117 countries around the world allow child marriages either because there is no age specification or it is allowed under certain circumstances. 

That's two-third of the world's countries.

In South Africa, an 8 year old boy weds a 61 year old woman Source: dailymail

In America, child marriages under some circumstances are legal in almost every state with parental permission, while 27 of those states do not even have a minimum age requirement for marriage.  

The American law does not grant children under the age of 18 the ability to initiate legal action, therefore they can legally marry but cannot divorce. 

The Independent, a British daily, claims that from 2015 to 2017, more than 200,000 child marriages took place in the U.S. alone. That number is based on available statistics, but the actual one is estimated to be much higher. 

The youngest known marriage was a ten-year-old girl. 

The New York Times reported a few months ago, the marriage of an 11-year-old, Sherry Johnson, to her rapist - a 20-year-old member of her church. 

Sherry had become pregnant; her family and church officials decided to organize a wedding for the two in order to avoid a criminal case.

In the Middle East, the current situation of Syrian refugees in countries such as Lebanon and Jordan has only added to the global numbers. 

Child marriages in such situations are often seen as a way out of poverty. 

For females, marriage to Lebanese men will offer them the right to claim Lebanese citizenship, which allows these girls to leave the camps.

The result has meant that 41% of young displaced Syrian women were married before the age of 18 in Lebanon alone. 

For refugees, aside from economic and social reasons, protection is another reason why these girls are married off young. Sexual violence both within camps and conflict zones is a prevalent product of war.  

sustainable development goals 2030
The UN's Sustainable Development Goals 2030 Source:

The UN 2030 Agenda has included the issue of child marriages in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs.) with the aim to end "child, early, and forced marriages."