Fighting to End Child Marriage

Child marriage is still legal in 48 states. The ongoing fight to change this for good is personal for the founder of Unchained At Last.

Child Brides in the U.S.

Child marriage is legal in most of the U.S. 48 states allow marriage before the age of 18. Fraidy Reiss is working to change that through her nonprofit Unchained At Last — which she started after leaving and abusive marriage. She found out that 248,000 children as young as 12 were married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010. In state after state, children can be entered into marriages without any say from them — completely disempowered throughout that process. And then because children do not have the right to bring legal action in their own name in most states, that typically means they're not even allowed to file for divorce once they've been entered into these marriages.

“My family arranged my marriage at 19 to a stranger who turned out to be violent. And I was trapped in that marriage for 15 years when I finally managed to escape with my two daughters. My family shunned me. They still consider me dead more than a decade later. Setting a marriage age at 16 or 17 does not help — almost all the children who marry in the United States are 16 or 17. Forced marriage and child marriage are happening everywhere. There is no one community or one culture or one ethnicity that we can point to and say, "That's where the problem is. They need to fix that." No, we all need to fix this.

In May 2018, she helped pass a bill banning marriage before 18 in Delaware — And then in New Jersey a month later. Since 2011, Unchained has helped over 500 women and girls leave forced marriages. Reiss says that oftentimes, It’s the parents who force the marriage and the consequences can be devastating. After the success in Delaware and New Jersey, Reiss is working to pass legislation in more states to end marriage before 18.


07/16/2019 1:27 PM


  • Steve R.
    03/30/2020 00:24

    And those that support it condemn Muslims for the same. Hypocrisy rules

  • James P.
    03/18/2020 15:13

    Is the Betty Bowers?

  • Hind H.
    03/17/2020 20:03

    check it out...

  • Charles O.
    03/17/2020 19:47

    Not true. Its a fake news thing to get clout. You guys and gals should read more. Not necessarily law but readings good

  • Claire M.
    03/17/2020 18:30

    People can't understand how parents can do this. A common thread in these cases is very orthodox religions where parents are afraid their daughters are turning "wild" so they marry them off to prevent them from having pre-marital sex. Sadly, these parents are getting away with this travesty. Girls need to have rights and the right to say NO to an arranged marriage is one of those rights.

  • Bassma S.
    03/17/2020 17:27


  • Josephine K.
    03/17/2020 17:20

    OMG... unbelievable..I can't still believe this 😱😰😨

  • Bernarda Š.
    03/17/2020 16:38


  • Jay M.
    03/17/2020 16:31

    Fly to the middle East or India.. it's the norm. In America, it's very rare, unless it's within the aforementioned communities... Legally married young, yes, but forced marriage of young women. Not the norm.

  • Marlene R.
    03/17/2020 16:11

    I didn't know about this happening in the US horrible

  • Margo G.
    03/17/2020 15:34

    Because everyone needs to know

  • Ahadul I.
    03/17/2020 15:26

    But you legalized sex before 18. Irony?

  • Naty S.
    03/17/2020 15:04

    I don't believe it

  • Mel O.
    03/17/2020 14:31

    248,000 child marriages in the US in ten years, That's almost SEVENTY each day. And here we are blaming afghanistan, yemen, pakistan,...These countries don't have such numbers COMBINED.

  • Rose D.
    03/17/2020 12:42

    First time for me to watch a docu like this. Hard to believe it's happening in the US.

  • Karen E.
    03/17/2020 12:35

    Omg 48 states wow this is wrong.

  • Hana N.
    03/17/2020 12:34

    If they can have intercourse and be 13-16 years old and pregnant they should be married

  • Patricia H.
    03/17/2020 12:31

    Is this true? I am truly shocked by this, I had no idea.

  • Ralph O.
    03/17/2020 12:10

    Which part of this world is this evil happening

  • Shrijit S.
    08/03/2019 09:16

    Advanced Nation in terms of economy only ...!!

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