Children are barred from all sorts of things before their 18th birthday. Sadly, marriage is not one of them. In fact, child marriage is legal in many countries and 48 US states.
The number of people taking advantage of these lax child marriage laws is quite high. People are even forcing American children to petition for foreign adults to come there and get married to them, and adult Americans are bringing foreign children back to marry them
Right now, a person in the U.S. can apply to bring their child bride over from another country as long as the girl is old enough to get married in the person’s country of origin and in the state where the U.S. citizen lives. It turns out that the bar is very low to fulfill those requirements. In fact, in many U.S. states and countries, there is no floor on how young a person can marry.
In 2017 alone, at least 5,000 adults sought to bring an underage (under 18) spouse into the country and 3,000 children in the U.S. sought to bring in an adult spouse. But in these cases, the children don’t have autonomy. They are often being forced or are too young to really make a decision on whether or not they want to be married — and the stories of abuse in these marriages are terrifying.
What kind of world do we live in that allows children to be exploited and endangered in this way? Let’s put an end to this child abuse, especially since it’s largely harming young women.
P.S. Forced child marriage is bad for children and bad for girls especially. Please join us in standing for young girls everywhere and demand the U.S. ends child marriage here so that no more people can exploit a child in order to immigrate.