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Tahirih Justice Center is proud to announce a new partnership with Hogan Lovells aimed at ending forced marriage in the United States.

As part of its Commitment to Action with the Clinton Global Initiative, the leading global law firm will partner with Tahirih on a pro bono basis to conduct advocacy aimed at improving the protections that U.S. laws offer to those facing or fleeing forced marriages.

“We are grateful to Hogan Lovells for its commitment to pro bono service and to empowering girls and women around the world. Together, we hope to transform the laws that protect girls and women facing forced marriages,” said Jeanne Smoot, Tahirih’s Senior Counsel for Policy and Strategy.

The groundbreaking project has a special focus on strengthening state laws on the age of consent to marry, in order to guarantee adequate protection for minors facing forced marriages, and ensuring meaningful access to state civil protection orders for forced marriage victims.

Forced marriage is an acute global problem that denies individuals the fundamental human right to decide whether, when, and whom to marry. A forced marriage lacks the full and free consent of one or both parties and typically involves one or more elements of force, fraud, or coercion.

Victims can suffer severe and lifelong harm, including physical and mental health issues, barriers to education, and domestic and sexual abuse. It has a devastating impact on thousands of individuals living right here in the United States. In 2011, Tahirih conducted a groundbreaking national survey among counselors, police, teachers, and other professionals and found as many as 3,000 cases of forced marriage among individuals of diverse backgrounds in the United States in just a 2-year period.

Tahirih’s partnership with Hogan Lovells is part of the law firm’s global initiative to address gender-based violence and to provide educational and work-related opportunities for girls and women. Hogan Lovells introduced its Empowering Girls and Women Initiative on May 7. You can learn more about its commitment here.