SALT LAKE CITY — In the developing world, one in 10 girls is married before the age of 18. One in seven is married before 15. Tino Borantu of Ethiopia was married at age 9.
She was forced to marry her deceased sister's husband, who is 26 years her senior, and take on his child. Suddenly, before reaching her 10th birthday, Tino had to learn to provide for both husband and child.
The situation is common for young girls in Ethiopia and other African countries, where every year an estimated 10 million girls are married before they turn 18. Globally, nearly 400 million women currently ages 20-49 were married before 18, according to Girls Not Brides, a global partnership of non-governmental organizations committed to ending child marriage.
These numbers can be reduced soon, however, according to one expert.
"Ending child marriage is doable in a generation or two," said Margaret Hempel, director for the sexuality and reproductive health and rights unit for the Ford Foundation, which recently committed $5 million over five years toward this issue. "Fundamentally, our concern is that child marriage is a violation of a wide range of human rights issues for girls."