About 650 million children and women alive today were married before age 18, roughly 17% of the global female population, according to
UNICEF. In a yearlong project, Voice of America set out to meet child
brides from Albania to Pakistan to Tanzania, putting faces and voices to
a practice that the United Nations is trying to eliminate by 2030.Ending child marriage is pivotal to improving global health, eliminating poverty and expanding human rights, UNICEF says. Married teen girls are often physically abused, and their lives of
chores and childbearing perpetuate centuries-old cycles of gender
inequality in their communities.The leading causes of death for girls ages 15 to 19 are complications from pregnancy and giving
birth, according to the World Health Organization. Babies born to girls
younger than 18 also have higher risks of death and stunting."