Licensed to wed: 200,000 children married in US in 15 years

Child marriage and girls married to men double their age seems to be the problem of developing countries. But according to a report, more than 200,000 children were married in the US over the past 15 years. Though every state has its own minimum age of marriage the minimum age for marriage across most of the US is 18. While Alaska, Louisiana and South Carolina, grant marriage licences to children as young as 12 while 11 other states allow 13-year-olds to wed. Most states set the age of sexual consent between 16 and 18 and a person can be charged with statutory rape for having sex with a minor. Yet many children were granted marriage licences, approved by judges before they could legally consent to sex.

According to data compiled by Unchained, At Last, a group campaigning to abolish child marriage, at least 207,468 minors married in the US between 2000 and 2015. The figure can be much higher as 10 states provided no or incomplete statistics. In New Jersey alone nearly 3,500 children married in the state between 1995 and 2012. Not only this, the girls as young as 13 was mostly girls married to adult men. Eighty-seven per cent of the minors who married across the country between 2000 and 2015 were girls, with the majority either 16 or 17.