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This article was originally published in Washington Post on April 14, 2017. You can access the original article here: wapo.st/2p9F6DC.

Tahirih Justice Center Senior Counsel for Policy and Strategy Jeanne Smoot’s letter to the editor in the Washington Post explains that the United States’ antiquated child marriage laws make children vulnerable to abuse, coercion, and exploitation.

“Some states also make exceptions to allow marriage in case of pregnancy — a potential red flag for rape or statutory rape. This is especially alarming because girls who are abused are six times more likely to become pregnant; girls who become pregnant are most likely to face pressure or coercion to marry; and girls who are forced to marry often face a lifetime of abuse and rape,” said Smoot.

Read the full article here.