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This article was originally published in The Washington Post on October 12, 2018. You can access the original article here: wapo.st/2pTmy93.

Jeanne Smoot, the Tahirih Justice Center’s Senior Counsel for Policy and Strategy, wrote a letter to the editor of the Washington Post about the need to change laws which allow underage marriage to happen in the U.S.

“State laws that permit marriage before age 18 put girls at unconscionable risk,” wrote Smoot.

“[These laws] ignore how vulnerable children are to force and coercion; empowers exploitative or unfit parents with final say-so; and disadvantages minors who, if abused, don’t have the same rights or resources as adults to protect themselves.”

Read the full letter here.