Source: U.S. Census Bureau

As more states make child marriage illegal, the places where it is still lawful are emerging as havens for ceremonies which can devastate the lives of young people. A Newsweek investigation reveals the disturbing reality that a lack of unified action against child marriage can establish.

Californian Sara Tasneem was just 15 when her father arranged for her be married in a spiritual ceremony to a stranger almost twice her age.

She was visibly pregnant, she said, when they left the San Francisco Bay Area in the mid-90s to embark on a road trip to Reno, Nevada, where she was legally married. “Nobody asked me if this was something that I wanted,” she told Newsweek.

“I was a very petite teenager and I was clearly pregnant… “Nobody asked me, ‘do you want me to call your mom?’ Nothing. That day, basically, I signed everything away.”

At the time, Nevada law permitted minors to marry with the consent of one parent.

“It only took a signature from a parent or guardian, basically on a permission slip that was notarized,” she said.

The marriage certificate meant that […]

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