Child Marriage in Asia | Plan International Skip to main content

Child Marriage in Asia

Asia is home to a high number of children are forced to marry for economic, cultural and family reasons. At least 14 million girls under the age of 18 marry every year globally and for girls this has life-changing impacts on their futures. They drop-out of school and miss out on valuable opportunities to find employment and to reach their full potential.

Child marriage is a breach of children's rights as marriages usually happen without their consent to partners they have never met. Girls in particular are married young to reduce the economic burden on their family; they are no longer an extra person for their parents to look after. 

After marriage, girls are at increased risk of early and dangerous pregnancies, domestic violence and sexual assault and become responsible for the household chores in their husbands' households.

Nearly 39,000 girls under the age of 18 get married in the world everyday.

Plan International is working with men and women across Asia to change perceptions about child marriage and raise awareness of the rights of all children. Child Marriage programmes focus on Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Nepal and Cambodia.

Sharina from Bangladesh was married when she was 14 to a man she had never met and didn't want to marry. She dropped out of school and cried throughout her wedding ceremony. "I was about to lose my life. I did nothing but sit inside and cry. I stopped eating. No one prepared me or talked about what was to come," Sharina explains.

Sharina and her husband Nazir now have a daughter, Tonni. "For our daughter, our greatest wish is that she should get an education and study – which we never got. Together we agreed that we are never going to make the same mistakes our own parents did, to marry off our daughter prematurely. Never in the world!" Sharina said.

Sharina and her daughter, Tonni.