Worldwide, 12 million girls marry before age 18 every year. Say “child marriage” and the average American thinks of a developing country, where economic hardship forces parents to marry off their young daughter to a much older man. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, 4 in 10 young women marry before age 18. In South Asia, 3 in 10 girls are wed before their 18th birthday.
But child marriage is happening right now in the U.S. And that’s not okay.
More than 200,000 minors were married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2015
While there is some evidence that children (mostly girls) are more at risk of child marriage in rural and poorer settings, the fact is that child marriage affects all communities. It is not a “them” issue; it is an “us” issue.
There is no federal law regarding child marriage. Every state sets its own requirements. According to data collected from 41 states, more than 200,000 minors were married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2015.
Read more here.