Bangui — AN estimated 115 million boys and men around the world were married as children.
Of these, 23 million are children.
This is according to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in its first ever in-depth analysis of child grooms.
Using data from 82 countries, the study reveals that child marriage among boys is prevalent across a range of countries around the world, spanning sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, South Asia, and East Asia and the Pacific.
"Marriage steals childhood," said UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore.
She said child grooms were forced to take on adult responsibilities for which they might not be ready.
"Early marriage brings early fatherhood, and with it added pressure to provide for a family, cutting short education and job opportunities," Fore said.
According to the data, the Central African Republic has the highest prevalence of child marriage among males (28 percent), followed by Nicaragua (19 percent) and Madagascar (13 percent).
Children most at risk of child marriage come from the poorest households, live in rural areas and have little to no education.