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Six hundred million phantom girls

Of the 600 million girls and young teenagers living in developing countries, many continue to be invisible to national structures and programmes. Millions of them live in conditions of poverty, victims of discrimination, inequality, violence and exploitation, such as child labour and underage marriage. Latin America, for example, is the only region in which the adolescent fertility rate is still stable or even increasing. These are obviously very vulnerable children and adolescents. The majority of them leave school, thus limiting their possibility of finding work and increasing their state of dependence (often to their own tormentors). Another plague is underage marriage: according to the latest statistics from UNICEF, 70 million (that is, one out of three) of young women between 20 and 24 were married before the age of 18, and 23 million before the age of 15. Worldwide, 400 million women between the age of 20 and 49 got married when they were still juveniles.

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St. Peter’s Square

Aug. 17, 2019

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