Child marriage and sex abuse happens more than you think -

- in the United States and worldwide. 

CHILD USA is constructing an international comparative study of child marriage and sex abuse statistics and practices. 

Girls are at risk of sex abuse in far too many cultures, including the United States. 

This study will expose the reasons that entrap girls in these destructive relationships and help chart the better path forward.


In almost all states, the age for marriage without parental consent is 18 year-old, which coincides with the age of majority in most of the United States. In 36, or 2/3, of the states, the age of marriage for minors with parental consent is 16. In some states, though, the minimum is even younger if there is both judicial and parental consent.

Perhaps the most concerning aspect of child marriage laws in the Unites States is that in 23, or approximately half, of the states, there is no minimum age for marriage with parental and judicial consent. This is known as not having a “floor” for marriage, or no bottom limit.

This means that if both parents and a judge sign off on a marriage, a child of any age can be married in that state. This lack of a “floor” for marriage puts children--most often young girls--at risk of sex abuse, because in many instances of child marriage, the parents are the ones who are forcing their child to marry. In May of 2017, Governor Chris Christie vetoed a New Jersey law that would have prohibited all marriages under 18 in New Jersey. The movement to end child marriage and sex abuse in the United States is growing at this time.



11 and Married: Malaysia Spars Over an Age-Old Practice

"Norazila and Ayu were best friends and they shared everything that girls do: sleepovers, selfies, musings about cute boys.

But their friendship, which had blossomed in their placid hamlet in northern Malaysia, was destroyed late last month when Norazila, 14, discovered that Ayu, 11, had secretly become her father’s third wife."

H. Beech | July 29, 2018

Utah Men Married Each Other's 7- and 8-Year-Old Daughters — as One Is Sentenced to Prison

"Utah man Samuel Shaffer dreamed of growing old with the 8-year-old he took as his child bride — but the leader of a doomsday cult will now be aging behind bars.

E. Davies | June 29, 2018

The 11-year-old girl divorcing her 38-year-old husband

"The young Sudanese girl was in elementary school when a 38-year-old man asked for her hand in marriage.

Her father accepted the proposal, and Amal (not her real name) was immediately wed.

In Sudan, child marriage has been woven into the fabric of the country's culture, driven by tradition and poverty. More than a third of girls there are married before their 18th birthday, according to a 2017 UNICEF report, and 12% are wed before they reach 15. Under the country's 1991 Personal Status Law of Muslims, children can marry when they reach "maturity," which is only 10 years old. It's the lowest legal age of marriage in Africa."

N. Elbagir & I. Osorio | June 2018 


Donate here so you can support CHILD USA's efforts to expose child marriage facts and to help pave the way for girls to be children, and not victims of adult men in "marriages" that destroy their lives and futures.