Child marriage drops in South Asia leading to global decline

NEW DELHI (AP) — UNICEF says a significant fall in child marriages in South Asia has reduced the rate of marriage for girls globally.

The statement released Tuesday says more educational opportunities and government investment in adolescent girls and strong advocacy about the illegality of such marriages saw 25 million fewer child marriages across the world in the last decade.

The U.N. Children’s Fund says progress in India helped reduced the risk of a girl in South Asia marrying before her 18th birthday to about 30 percent from nearly 50 percent.

Some 650 million women living today were married as children.

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