This week, new research shows the impact that COVID-19 can have on children, including making them more vulnerable to child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM). The pandemic has disrupted programs to prevent child marriage, for example, which researchers predict will result in an additional 13 million children being married over the next decade. Meanwhile, progress has been made in Sudan, where a recent law was put in place banning FGM. Additionally, more stories continue to come out about the increased risk of online sexual exploitation during the pandemic, with data showing a startling 200% increase in posts on known child sex abuse forums. This reinforces the critical role that parents can play to protect their children on and offline.
See below for five news stories that caught our attention this week:
Reuters, (May 1, 2020): This opinion piece highlights how COVID-19 is impacting girls’ education in Africa, while making them more vulnerable to child marriage, gender-based violence (GBV), and more. It includes actions governments can take to promote gender equality and keep girls in school.
The Guardian, (April 28, 2020): This article highlights findings from a recent analysis done by UNFPA and partners showing that a long-term lockdown due to COVID-19 could result in increases in GBV, FGM, and child marriages.
BBC, (May 1, 2020): This article highlights the recent news that Sudan has criminalized carrying out FGM, making it punishable by three years in jail.
The Telegraph, (April 27, 2020): This article highlights the fact that during the COVID-19 outbreak, the amount of child abuse material being removed from the internet has drastically plummeted, while the amount of child abuse material online may be increasing.
Scientific American, (April 28, 2020): This article explains how COVID-19 puts children at risk of online sexual exploitation, and includes steps that parents can take to protect their kids.