Thank you for contacting me about child marriage.
Ending child, early and forced marriage must remain a high priority: it is shocking that more than 650 million girls and women alive today were married before their 18th birthday.
I am proud that the UK has been at the forefront of international efforts to end child marriage. Indeed, UK pressure helped ensure that a separate target on ending child marriage was included within the Global Goals.
The UK’s flagship £39 million programme to end child, early and forced marriage is helping thousands of girls take control and exercise choice over their bodies and futures across the world. Support for the UN’s ‘Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage’ programme plays an important role, working to strengthen legal and policy frameworks, scale up access to services for girls at risk - including education and child protection - and tackle harmful social norms underlying child marriage.
Since 2015, the UK’s programme has reached over 7.7 million girls in schooling initiatives, skills training and girls’ clubs to prevent child marriage. Engagement with community and faith leaders is also helping to shift attitudes and practices related to girls’ rights, in programmes reaching 4.2 million people.
I welcome the UK’s resolute commitment to ending child marriage and the brilliant work done so far. There is much more to be done and I will follow developments closely.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP