When Fraidy Reiss took on stopping child marriages in the United States, she thought the issue would be disturbing enough for lawmakers to legislate an immediate fix.
She started her organization, Unchained at Last, in 2011 to push for an end to child and forced marriages after defying and then escaping her insular religious community, which she says forced her to wed a violent man at age 19. Heart-wrenching tales from women and girls from around the country poured in about their forced or arranged child marriages, leaving Reiss overwhelmed but determined.
But Reiss said her concerns fell on deaf ears when she took the issue to lawmakers.
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Number of Women and Girls At Risk: 25,000
Status: Existing Legislation Needs Strengthening
Improve by adding: Prosecuting parents/guardian, felony offense