Getting ahead of the 'shadow pandemic'

Getting ahead of the 'shadow pandemic'

Getting ahead of the 'shadow pandemic'

Young girls are now more in danger of becoming victims as the world sees an uptick of sexual abuse triggered by the coronavirus.

GFA World reports in "Young Victims Remain Hidden in the Pandemic's Shadow" that COVID-19 is accelerating a "global crisis for girls," with surging joblessness and poverty putting pressure on struggling parents to marry off their daughters in their mid-teens or younger.

In Africa, which has been decimated by COVID, GFA World founder K.P. Yohannon says seven million people are expected to die of starvation within the next six months. Young girls, he laments, will be the most impacted by that.

Yohannan, K.P. (GFA World) Yohannan

"The number of people becoming prostitutes, and parents trying to [marry off] their young girls into child marriages, and then human trafficking -- all has increased drastically," he reports.

Girls who choose prostitution do so as a way to make money for their families, and a dowry is awarded to the parents of those who marry. In other cases, pimps take the young girls and force them to sell themselves. But in any scenario, the girls are helpless. So GFA World has sent women into villages in Asia and Africa to educate parents on the dangers their girls face on the streets.

"I think they have rescued hundreds and hundreds of young girls -- nine years old, ten years old -- from getting married off because the families now [have] the information about how dangerous it is and how destructive it is," Yohannon relays.

GFA World is also striving to provide material needs, especially food, as the lack of it is often what convinces some parents to send their young girls on their way in the first place.