Statistics available has revealed that more than 200,000 children were married in the United States over the past 15 years.
Though the legal marriage age in the US is 18, there are exemptions such as parental consent or pregnancy in some states which allow minors to marry in some cases.
Out of the figure, three 10-year-old girls and one 11-year-old boy were among the youngest to wed under legal exemptions.
Eighty-seven percent of the minors who married across the country between 2000 and 2015 were girls, with the majority either 16 or 17.
In an attempt to fight the menace, states like New York which had in the past allowed children as young as 14 to marry subject to parental and court permission last month banned children aged under 17 from marrying.
Data from the Unchained At Last, a group campaigning to abolish child marriage, an alarming 207,468 minors married in the US between 2000 and 2015 and there are even fears that the figure could rise as some states failed to provided data.
The founder of Unchained at Last, Fraidy Reiss, has for instance described the figure as “literally shaking” based on the data for New Jersey.
“That number was so much higher than I had thought it would be. Then, the fact that the children were as young as 13 and the fact that it was mostly girls married to adult men.”
Lawyer Attorney, Jeanne Smoot with the Tahirih Justice Centre which has been on the forefront in the fight against violence against women and child marriage has revealed that Child brides usually come from poor backgrounds.
“Almost all the evidence indicates that girls in cities don’t get married young, that girls from middle class or wealthy families, don’t get married young. This is a rural phenomenon and it is a phenomenon of poverty.”
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