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This article was originally published in The Washington Post on April 11, 2015. You can access the original article here: wpo.st/0-cC0.

The March 22 Metro article “ A vow to marry on their own terms” highlighted a national tour to end forced marriage in the United States. The article incorrectly framed forced marriage as predominantly impacting South Asians, while our research shows that forced marriage impacts diverse U.S. communities from more than 56 countries, including those in Latin America; multigenerational American families; and those from varied socioeconomic and religious backgrounds.

By ignoring this diversity, the article perpetuated harmful stereotypes and excluded the experiences of other communities. Likewise, the article inaccurately portrayed the Tahirih Justice Center’s policy recommendations. We believe policy solutions must prioritize outreach, education and services for those facing or fleeing forced marriages and that any legal changes — especially criminalization — must be made only after thorough consultation with survivors, advocates and community-based organizations to avoid unintended consequences for victims.

Forced marriage is a serious, complex and hidden problem. Communities impacted cannot be stereotyped and solutions need to carefully reflect the complexity of the issue.

Layli Miller-Muro
Tahirih Justice Center
Founder and Executive Director