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This article was originally published in Frontline on July 06, 2017. You can access the original article here:

The Tahirih Justice Center’s legislative advocacy and groundbreaking legal research on child marriage laws were recently featured in a PBS Frontline series on child marriage in America. Tahirih’s Senior Counsel for Policy and Strategy, Jeanne Smoot, spoke at length with Frontline for this series  and was quoted in both articles.

The first article in this series, “Child Marriage in America By the Numbers,” gave an in-depth look at the scope of the problem of child marriage in this country and the antiquated state laws that allow it to happen. This eye-opening study utilized Tahirih’s compilation of all 50 states’ minimum marriage age laws as well as a forthcoming Tahirih report that revealed just how much state laws put children at risk.

Frontline also examined efforts to change state laws across the country in the second article, “In Fight Over Child Marriage Laws States Resist Calls for a Total Ban.” The article focuses on the challenges to putting in place meaningful protections for minors, but also identifies major successes in Virginia, Texas, and New York, and illustrates the remarkable growth in the movement to raise the minimum age of marriage across the nation.

“Judges only see a snapshot and they are not social workers,” said Jeanne Smoot, speaking about how judges are often not equipped to identify minors at risk of abuse and coercion.”

“They don’t see the 3-D image of all the kinds of threats that a girl might be facing outside that courtroom.”

Read the full article, “Child Marriage in America By the Numbers,” here.

Read the full article, “In Fight Over Child Marriage Laws States Resist Calls for a Total Ban,” here.