Fraidy Reiss, who founded and leads Unchained at Last, the only organization dedicated to ending child marriage in the United States through direct services and advocacy, tells AFN legislation against marriage, forced or otherwise, for anyone under the age of 18 is truly needed.
"Between 2000 and 2018, right here in the United States, 300,000 children – some as young as 10 – were married," Reiss relays. "We know that almost all of them were girls married to adult men, with an average spousal age difference of a little over four years."
Unchained at Last has convinced nine states to outlaw such unions.
"Massachusetts did pass the legislation last year, and … just a few weeks ago, the lieutenant governor, acting as governor, signed a bill in Connecticut," she reports. "Two months ago, Vermont also ended child marriage."
When the Michigan Legislature returns in the fall, it will become the 10th state to prohibit a child from entering matrimony.
While Reiss celebrates those 10 gains, she says her organization will not be satisfied until all 50 states protect children from being forced to marry adults.