Latest modern slavery fight updates -

Progress. But Child Marriage is Still Legal in All 50 States

  • Published on
    July 26, 2017
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Forced Marriage
Hero Banner

Lawmakers in America cannot ignore the issue of child marriage in America anymore. Research indicates that around a quarter-million children, many as young as 10, were wed in this country between 2000 and 2010. News agencies around the world are noticing.

Following is an excerpt from an article by Fraidy Reiss, the founder and executive director of Unchained at Last, a nonprofit dedicated to helping women and girls in the U.S. to escape forced marriages.

Yet while several states have moved in recent months to strengthen their laws and raise their marriage age, legal loopholes in all 50 states still allow marriage before 18 – and many state legislators remain unconvinced that they need to end child marriage.

Some legislators continue to insist that pregnant girls should marry, despite highly publicized cases of such girls who were forced to marry their own rapists and despite research that shows pregnant teenage girls have better long-term outcomes if they don’t marry.

Marriage before age 18 has such devastating, long-lasting consequences – undermining girls’ health, education and economic opportunities and increasing their risk of experiencing violence – that the U.S. state department considers marriage before 18 a “human rights abuse.” Furthermore, children can easily be forced into marriage or forced to stay in a marriage before they become legal adults, because they face overwhelming legal and practical barriers if they try to leave home, access a shelter, retain an attorney or bring a legal action. Even in a polarized age, we can all agree on ending child marriage. So, what’s the holdup?


Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This week

Rounded up and abandoned: Europe’s covert support of migrant atrocities

It is well documented that inhumane immigration policies are forcing migrants to take extremely risky routes on their journey to seek asylum in Europe and globally. However, a year-long investigation by the Washington Post, Lighthouse Reports, and a consortium of international media outlets uncovered that migrant lives are not just at risk due to sketchy channel crossings and being packed in the back of refrigerator trucks. To dissuade sub-Saharan

| Wednesday May 22, 2024

Read more