Posted: Oct 11, 2012 12:15 PM by AP
South Africa's Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu is helping the U.N. launch a campaign to end child marriages by 2030 in a bid to free girls from poverty, ignorance, and oppression by their husbands.
Tutu said Thursday the campaign is "recognition of the discrimination that has dogged women and girls for centuries."
The U.N. Population Fund said about 37,000 girls under age 18 are being married off daily, at a rising pace toward 14.2 million a year by 2020, and 15.1 million a year by 2030, if the trend is not curbed.
The problem is mainly concentrated in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where girls as young as 5 or 6 are married off, the U.N. agency said.
The UN Population Fund's executive director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, called for all nations to set a mandatory marriage age of 18.