Get the FACTS

Child Marriage In the USA

Child Marriage happens HERE!

Only Ten States have
Outlawed Child Marriage

Pervasive, Legal, Catastrophic

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Early Marriage DESTROYS Girls Lives

Pervasive, Legal, Catastrophic

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Where Are Child Marriages Happening? EVERYWHERE

Child Marriage by State USA
Source: Unchained at Last 2021


ICRW-ChildMarriage USA Consequences
ICRW-ChildMarriage USA Consequences 1
ICRW-ChildMarriage USA Consequences 2
ICRW-ChildMarriage USA Consequences 3

More details on the ICRW report in our Blog.

Source: ICRW International Center for research on Women

Download the ICRW Report

child marriages in the USA Are:

Mostly GIRLS

In the US and across the world,
child marriage and forced marriage
disproportionately affect girls and women.

Marrying Adult Men

And most of those girls were married to adult men.*
These were not “Romeo and Juliet” situations.

Some 77% of the children wed were minor girls married to adult men, often with significant age differences. Some children were wed at an age, or with a spousal age difference, that constitutes statutory rapeunder their state’s laws.

Source: Unchained at Last 2000-2010

Child Marriage is a REALLY BIG Problem in the USA

Each State Sets its own Legislation for Marriage Laws

Federal Laws do not even prevent “trafficking” of child brides”…

24 States do NOT have a minimum age for child marriage.  See the Common Exceptions that allow for  marriage below the legal age below*

  • No Divorce Rights 
  • No Ability to File a Protective Order
  • No Ability to Go to a Domestic Violence Shelter

Children in the U.S. typically are not allowed to initiate a legal proceeding in their own name. This means, in many states, children can be entered into marriages, typically by a parent or guardian, with little or no say from them – and then they are not allowed to file for divorce or annulment in their own name or even to seek a protective order.

A loophole in federal immigration law resulted in more than 5,000 cases of adults petitioning for visas on behalf of minors and nearly 3,000 cases of minors seeking to bring in older spouses or fiances, and enabled child marriages for children as young as 14 over a 10-year period, according to a report released by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in January.

Prevent Child Marriage and Abuse of the US Immigration System – IWV

Urge your senators to support S.742

Protecting Children Through Eliminating Visa Loopholes Act

to close the visa loopholes that enable underage marriage

There is emerging awareness of American girls being exported to other countries for child marriage. Unchained at Last is doing groundbreaking work and research into the problem of forced and child marriage, and through their work, they are finding examples of girls being sent overseas for forced and child marriages.

How to know if there is Truly “Consent”

When a marriage is “arranged” and the bride and groom get the option to say no, they might face intense pressure from their families and society, or they might be too young and inexperienced to make such a life-altering decision. They might be rushed to give an answer, before they can fully think through their options. They might be bribed or tricked. They might be grappling with implicit and/or explicit threats about the harms that will befall them and their families if they do not agree to a marriage. They might be subjected to actual violence: locked up, beaten or shunned until they say yes.  More…

You See the Problem…

Now Become Part of the solution

Take Action to End Child Marriage

In most states, children age 16 or 17 can marry if their parents sign the marriage license application. Obviously, one child’s parental consent is another child’s parental coercion, but state laws do not call for anyone to ask the children whether they are being pressured into marriage. Even when a girl sobs openly while her parents sign the application and force her into marriage, the clerk has no authority to intervene.

In many states, judicial approval lowers the marriage age below 16, and many states do not specify a minimum age below which a judge may not approve a child marriage. Typically, states allow judges to approve marriages for couples whose ages or age differences should trigger a statutory-rape charge, not a marriage license.

Contact Your STATE

Take Action Now

Latest Updates on Ending Child Marriage

Advocacy End-Child Marriage

Missouri advances Law to End Child Marriage

The current Missouri state law allows 16- and 17-year-olds to get married in Missouri as [...]

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Advocacy End-Child Marriage

Virginia Ends Child Marriage

Virginia becomes first Southern state to abolish child marriage April 16, 2024 Virginia became the [...]

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Advocacy End-Child Marriage

Washington State Ends Child Marriage

Washington Governor Jay Inslee signs into law bill HB1455 to End Child Marriage We Ended [...]

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Advocacy End-Child Marriage

End Child Marriage in WA Chain-in Press Event in Olympia

Please RSVP by Dec 15th Child marriage is an urgent problem in Washington. Dangerous legal [...]

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End-Child Marriage

U.S. Government joins the UNFPA-UNICEF Global Program to End Child Marriage

Zonta has supported ending child marriage since 2014, contributing US$2 million to delay early marriage [...]

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End-Child Marriage

Child marriage is still legal in California. How could this be? | Opinion

Opinion- Fraidy Reiss Sept 23, 2023 …”Instead, as The Sacramento Bee reported recently, California law [...]

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End-Child Marriage

Burbank CA Event to End Child Marriage in CA

Press Event Oct 5th. Noon – Burbank City Hall steps Speakers: Ela Pandya, Coalition Lead, [...]

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Advocacy End-Child Marriage

Zonta Takes Stance Against Child Marriage Through Legislation- Burbank Leader

“Children married under the age of 18 often live a life full of hardships and [...]

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