Much has been done in the fight against domestic violence and abuse. However, the lack of resources and awareness in certain countries in Latin America has increased the cases of teen pregnancies.

The legislation of Argentina classifies any sexual relationships with a child under 13 years as rape. Despite this, 90 girls who were between the age of 11 and 12 years were mothers in 2015.

Just a few days ago, the world was shocked to learn the news that doctors found an 11-year-old Argentine girl to be 32 weeks pregnant when the girl’s mother took her to the hospital in Mendoza after she experienced abdominal pains.

Her 23-year-old uncle was taken into custody after being accused of child abuse.

Family didn’t notice

Local reports say that the girl’s uncle often traveled, but when he was passing through the town, he spent the night in the house where the girl lives with her parents. The girl’s parents, who apparently were unaware of the abuses, failed to notice the girl's pregnant because the girl “is robust”, according to the district attorney.

Although abortion is legal in cases of rape, the child was denied an abortion due to the advanced state of the gestation.

Not the first case

Similar cases of child abuse have been reported over the past years. In 2010, a 12-year-old from the same town became pregnant after being raped.

In 2013, an 11 year-old from a different town became a mother of twin sons, who were born five weeks before the babies were due. Her case was reported to the police by her parents when a teacher informed them after becoming suspicious of her baby bump.

Every 3 hours, a child under the age of 15 gives birth

According to UNICEF, in Argentina, a girl under 15 years gives birth every 3 hours.

These unwanted pregnancies are associated with various factors, such as insufficient sex education, lack of access to contraceptive methods, sexual violence, poverty and school dropouts. The majority of cases of child sexual abuse are perpetrated by relatives.

A brighter future

UNICEF has taken numerous initiatives in order to ensure a brighter future for young parents and their Children.

Among them is the ‘Maternal Rooms in Secondary School’ project, which aims to give young girls and boys the opportunity to raise their children or younger siblings while studying. Under this project, UNICEF has helped to equip 30 rooms in schools across Argentina with furniture and teaching materials.

Young parents studying in these schools are no different than the rest. Although the road ahead will be a lot more challenging for them, they have high hopes for their future, just like other pupils.

“I want to finish my studies and probably become a nurse.” Said Ailin Righetti, who UNICEF reports, along with her boyfriend - will become a parent in a few months.