Loopholes in state laws are allowing child marriage to flourish in the U.S., despite research showing that the practice puts young people at risk of serious, lifelong harm.
More than 200,000 children under 18 were married from 2000 to 2015 in the U.S., according to a report released Wednesday by the Tahirih Justice Center, a nonprofit organization working to end gender-based violence. The vast majority were underage girls who married adult men.
“America really does have a child marriage problem,” said Jeanne Smoot, author of the report. “It hurts children here, just as it does globally, and we are overdue to tackle it.”
Number of Women and Girls At Risk: 25,000
Status: Existing Legislation Needs Strengthening
Improve by adding: Prosecuting parents/guardian, felony offense