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Child Marriage In the USA

Child Marriage happens HERE!


Only Two States have
Outlawed Child Marriage

Pervasive, Legal, Catastrophic

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Early Marriage DESTROYS Girls Lives

Pervasive, Legal, Catastrophic

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Frequency of Child Marriage*

248,000 Children

As Young as age 12

Some 248,000 children at least as young as age 12 were married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010.

Data from 38 states showed more than 167,000 children wed in that decade. The other 12 states and Washington, DC, could not provide the data. For them, Unchained at Last estimated the number of children wed, based on the strong correlation Unchained identified between population and child marriage.

*source: Unchained at Last Research

Consequences of Early Marriage

Early End to Education

Lower Wages, Poverty

Increased Risk of Domestic Violence, Including Rape

Higher Divorce Rates

Higher risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases

Early, frequent and higher risk pregnancies
Girls under 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth
Children born of child brides are 60% more likely to die in the first year of life

Source: Unchained at Last Devastating Consequences

End Child Marriage shoe display

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.

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 rape under their state’s laws.

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”…

25 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

wHICH STATE HAS THE HIGHEST RATE OF CHILD MARRIAGE?

This is a sub title

STATE

Idaho
Kentucky
Arkansas
Wyoming
Utah
Alabama
Mississippi
Texas
West Virginia
Tennessee
Missouri
Alaska
Louisiana
South Carolina
Colorado
Kansas
Virginia
Florida
Oregon
South Dakota
Hawaii
Illinois
Maryland
Nebraska
Washington
Wisconsin

Rate

0.29%
0.28%
0.25%
0.19%
0.18%
0.17%
0.15%
0.15%
0.15%
0.13%
0.11%
0.10%
0.10%
0.10%
0.09%
0.09%
0.09%
0.08%
0.08%
0.08%
0.05%
0.05%
0.05%
0.05%
0.05%
0.05%

STATE

Iowa
Michigan
Montana
North Dakota
Ohio
Connecticut
Vermont
Delaware
Massachusetts
New Jersey
New York
New Hampshire
Arizona
California
District of Columbia
Georgia
Indiana
Maine
Minnesota
Nevada
New Mexico
North Carolina
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island

Rate

0.04%
0.04%
0.04%
0.04%
0.04%
0.03%
0.03%
0.02%
0.02%
0.02%
0.02%
0.01%
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

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.

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