Pregnant woman having an ultrasound. EFE/

Four girls become mothers every day in Peru, reports UN

Lima, Sept 25 (EFE).- Four girls aged 10 to 14 become mothers every day in Peru and six teenagers aged 15 to 19 have a child every hour in Peru, as revealed Monday by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The agency warned that child pregnancies are growing in the Andean country.

“Pregnancies among girls aged 10 to 14 years are an increasing trend, unfortunately.” said NFPA representative, Hugo Gónzalez.

“If you look at the administrative records of girls’ births, you can see that in 2020, there were 1,156 births registered, a figure that went up to 1,611 in 2022, which implies a 40% increase,” he added.

Just a few weeks before the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Week, Gonzalez explained to accredited journalists of the Foreign Press Association in Peru (APEP) the challenges for the Andean country related to this issue that affects the future of thousands of minors.

He detailed that in 78 districts of Peru there are girls from 10 to 14 with more than one child, and in 270 there are teenagers with three or more.

He warned that according to the Peruvian Penal Code, sexual relations with girls under 14 are a crime, and that means many child pregnancies are related to sexual violence.

Only three out of ten rapes of girls are reported in Peru, and around 70% are perpetrated by a family member, which makes this process difficult.

Gonzalez said there was a paradox during the pandemic because, when girls were supposed to be in a situation of protection at home, they were most vulnerable precisely because of the proximity to their aggressors.

“It is necessary to strengthen the protection framework so that sexual abuse of minors does not continue to occur, and one of the sectors involved is Justice, it needs to send clear signals that it is a crime that society does not tolerate,” he said.

To reverse this trend, the most effective tool is integrated sex education, which should be taught both in schools and within the family, and that would help both girls to identify situations of violence and boys not to exercise it, he said.

González also emphasized that it is common that when there is a rape, families reach marriage agreements with the aggressor, perpetuating violence for the minor.

“Child marriage in Peru today is still legal, and if we would like to contribute to these phenomena occurring less and less, one of the ways is to promote the elimination of child marriage and early unions in the country,” he said.

He noted that the State should aim to reduce these figures by promoting the use of contraceptives.

“Around the year 2000, 56% of adolescents with stable partners did not use modern contraceptive methods, and in 2022, this indicator increased to 67-68%,” Gonzalez said.

Furthermore, in recent years, the desirability of pregnancies among girls aged 15 to 19 has decreased drastically since the early 1990s, when one out of every two adolescents wanted to become a mother at conception. In contrast, now it is one out of four.

In 2022, approximately three out of every four teenage pregnancies of mothers aged 15 to 19 years, who gave birth during the last five years, said they would have preferred to have postponed parenthood. EFE