Girls as young as ten are among more than 200,000 children wed to adults in the United States in just the past 15 years, as — despite minimum requirements a person reach the age of 18, or legal adulthood, nationally — a smattering of locations have preserved loopholes legally permitting child marriage.
Alarmingly, the number of children married away to fully mature adults could be much higher than the already-startling number — ten states provide only fragmentary statistics, or none at all.
And the loopholes don’t exist solely in theory — adults across the U.S. have actively opportune the law to marry kids — even amid a decline in the number of marriages, overall.
To wit, three 10-year-old girls and an 11-year-old boy were among the hundreds of thousands of children and minors the system somehow permitted adults to lock into marriage — despite their bodies and minds not yet being fully developed.
“At least 207,468 minors married in the US between 2000 and 2015, according to data compiled by Unchained At Last, a group campaigning to abolish child marriage, and investigative documentary series Frontline,” The Independent reports.
Exemptions from the national marriage minimum age of 18 exist for circumstances like pregnancy and parental consent — in every state in the country.