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Aid groups in Lebanon say the country’s ongoing economic crisis, compounded by the coronavirus pandemic, is forcing more children into underage marriages. “From what we have been able to observe in the field and from what our local partners are telling us, we believe that child marriage is increasing as a result of the difficult circumstances here today,” Johanna Eriksson, who heads UNICEF’s Child Protection Program in Lebanon, told DW. “It is just one of the negative coping mechanisms that people here are resorting to.” Farah Salhab, of the Save the Children organization in Lebanon, said: “Since the pandemic, we have seen a direct link between COVID-19 and a rise in child marriage.” In March, UNICEF put out a statement saying the pandemic could result in as many as 10 million more girls being put at risk of being married over the next decade worldwide. Although some young boys are forced into marriage, this problem mostly affects young girls.

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