Child marriages were common throughout history for a variety of reasons including poverty, insecurity, as well as for political and financial reasons.
Today, child marriage is still fairly widespread, particularly in developing countries, such as parts of Africa, The incidence of child marriage has been falling in most parts of the world.
This practice intensified after the Jewish community was expelled from Spain, and resettled in the Ottoman Empire.
Child marriages among the Eastern Sephardic Jews continued through the 18th century in Islamic majority regions.
These difficulties pressed families to betroth their girls, irrespective of her age, as soon as they had the resources to pay the dowry.Ruth Lamdan writes: “The numerous references to child marriage in the 16th- century Responsa literature and other sources, shows that child marriage was so common, it was virtually the norm.In this context, it is important to remember that in halakha, the term ‘minor’ refers to a girl under twelve years and a day.Such determination of sexual maturity is a matter of subjective judgment, and there is a strong belief among most Muslims and scholars, based on Sharia, that marrying a girl less than 13 years old is an acceptable practice for Muslims.According to UNFPA, factors that promote and reinforce child marriage include poverty and economic survival strategies; gender inequality; sealing land or property deals or settling disputes; control over sexuality and protecting family honour; tradition and culture; and insecurity, particularly during war, famine or epidemics.