US state introduces law to stop 12-year-old girls getting married

US state introduces law to stop 12-year-old girls getting married
Published: 2016 July 05 17:57:28 (7222 Views)
In February, YouTube prankster Coby Persin conducted a social experiment into how the public reacts to child marriage in which a man of 65 takes pictures in Times Square, New York, with a 12-year-old girl.

New Yorkers couldn't believe such a thing was legal in their own country.

But between 2004 and 2013, around 4,500 children under the age of 18 were married in Virginia. Of that 4,500, more than 200 were 15 or younger.

Finally, last Friday, authorities in Virginia introduced new legislation that updated rules that had, until then, made it entirely legal for girls aged 12 or 13 to be married so long as they had parental consent and were pregnant.



'We hope that legislators will see the efforts in Virginia as a wake-up call about how their laws can facilitate forced marriages of children,' Jeanne Smoot, Tahirih's senior counsel for policy and strategy, told the Washington Post.

The change followed a long battle by activists who said the original law constituted forced marriage, human trafficking and statutory rape disguised as marriage.

Ms Vogel said that she first heard about the issue from constituents in an affluent part of her district in northern Virginia. They had told her that a man in his 50s was suspected of sleeping with a high school student.

Ms Vogel said that when child protective services began to investigate, the man charmed the parents and married the teenager, thereby eliminating any hope of prosecution. It was the second time the man had done this.

Similar bills were passed in California, Maryland, New Jersey and New York earlier in the year.



Source - Metro

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