While the prevalence of child marriage has dropped from over 90 percent in 1970, it remains very high as 51 percent women who are currently aged 20-24 were married while they were still children, according to a Unicef report published last October.
As a result, the country is home to 38 million child brides who were married before their 18th birthday, including 13 million who married before the age of 15.
The COVID-19 pandemic now threatens to roll back progress to end child marriage. Between April and October last year during the pandemic, at least 13,886 children were married off in 21 districts when Bangladesh was grappling with Coronavirus in its initial stage, according to a survey.
Of the brides, 50.6 percent were aged between 16 and 17 years at the time of their marriage. Another 47.7 percent were between 13 and 15 years old. Around 1.7 percent of the girls were aged 10-12 when they were married off.
In its report, Unicef said Bangladesh would need to put in more efforts to bring change to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal target to end child marriage by 2030, and the national target to end child marriage by 2041.
Progress must be at least eight times faster than the rate of the past decade to meet the national target, and 17 times faster to meet the SDG target, it said.