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Although child marriage often affects girls, boys are sometimes forced to marry at a young age too. When this happens, they often have to drop out of school and take unskilled jobs to support their new family. However, when boys are forced to marry at a young age, it is usually to a child bride while most girls who are forced into child marriage are married off to men that are much older than they are.
Despite Laws, International Conventions and Goals that ban and call for an end to child marriage, this plight still faces thousands of girls around the world including in Tanzania. Every year, about 12, girls worldwide are married before they are 18 years old.
Statistics from the Tanzania Demographic Health Survey TDHS, indicated that 36 per cent of girls aged 20 to 24 were married before they turned 18 years old. On average, 2 out of 5 girls are married before they are 18 years in Tanzania. Child marriage is more common in rural areas than it is in urban areas and occurs mostly in poor families because for the most part, the motive behind it is bride price - often in terms of cows - an important addition to the wealth of rural and lowincome households.
Poverty being a major driver for early marriages means that generally, girls from low-income families are more likely to get married before they reach 18 years of age than girls from higher-income families. Poverty and discrimination, particularly against the girl child, are factors that keep feeding this harmful practice. Child marriage is not only a violation of children's rights;it also leads to a rather vicious cycle.