Today, 11 October, is the International Day of the Girl Child. Created to recognise girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world, this year’s Day will focus on “Innovating for Girls’ Education”. While there has been significant progress in improving girls’ access to education, many girls, particularly the most marginalized, continue to be deprived of this basic right. Girls in many parts of the world are still unable to attend school due to safety-related, financial, institutional and cultural barriers.
For girls deprived of their right to education, the risk of sexual exploitation is amplified. Without the opportunity to attend school, girls may be forced to beg on the streets or to leave the security of their homes and find work in larger cities or centres, leaving them at risk for exploitation. In some regions of the world, girls are sold as child brides and forced to leave school. Education can empower girls to become financially secure, independent and less vulnerable to exploitation.
Today we draw attention to the rights of all girls with a focus on their right to live free of sexual exploitation.