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Covid-19: Economic hardship leading to spike in child marriages


The economic collapse of COVID-19 is a negative perception due to practical nature of economic activity. We, therefore, question how individual experiences in labour market relate to creation of mental health complaints in spring of 2020. Since, collection of clinical data was compromised during closure, a similar study by European workers provides an opportunity to address mental health complaints as a problem arises. The data represented active members of six European nations with different COVID-19 loads depending on death and closure measures. We write a high level of decent work with opportunities to deal with economic hardship during job losses - approaching job losses, financial losses, and inflation - which exacerbates economic inequality. The analysis shows a positive correlation between immediate economic crisis during closure of COVID-19 and expression, feelings of depression and health concerns. Significantly, the magnitude of relationship between such difficulties and indicators of mental health deterioration depends mainly on employment status of employees, presenting a second layer that exacerbates inequality.

Tatvasheel Kamble, a member of  Child Welfare Committee (CWC) in Beed region, is a busy man these days. In past few months, she has received about 54 complaints of child marriage, but says there will be many such cases that she may not have reached. Activists say the economic crisis during roadblocks has led to a significant trend in child marriages.


"The Covid-19 epidemic has crippled the economy, and children in low-income families will have to deal with this. The girls would suffer greatly. Girls are now considered a burden on the family, and now families will want to get rid of young girls by marrying them at an early age. We are busy stopping child marriages," said Kamble. He added that in rural areas, girls are getting married even though they are nine years old.

Bees-based social activist Manisa Tokle said, "If you go to a rural area, you can see a series of children getting married. Covid-19 has left the poor in trouble, who rush to marry their young daughters. Child marriages ruin girls' lives. They are at risk of sexual abuse and early pregnancy." 

In some cases, like Sheetal Toge of Pimpla village in Beed, girls have to pay heavy sum of  money. The 13-year-old Sheetal was married last year, and last week her father, Prakash Bhange, strangled her to death. She was upset that Sheetal often came to her parents' house saying that she wanted to stay with them and not with her husband. According to police, the hardworking father struggling to make ends meet was unwilling to take the "burden" on his life.

Tanaji Patil, CWC Regional Chairperson for Raigad, said, "Unemployment, migration, and rising poverty resulting from Covid-19 will affect children and cases of child marriage will increase. The government must take steps to involve girls in the formal education system or skills development and provide education until they graduate fully."

The United Nations Population Fund's State of the World Population Report, 2020, noted that child marriages increased during periods of relief efforts caused by natural disasters or conflicts. "Furthermore, girls who are deprived of educational opportunities during a crisis are seen as remaining" unemployed "at home, furthering the perception that marriage is a positive change for girls who do not have limited options,".

The report said one driver of child marriages in times of crisis was increased risk of sexual abuse and assault associated with weakening of public institutions. In such cases, some families view marriage to protect the "honour" of girls and, more importantly, the family.

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Tags: #covid19 #economy #childlabour

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