Child Brides in the U.S.
As the issue of forced child marriage gains visibility around the world, many Americans remain unaware of the atrocity in their own backyards.
Most are oblivious to the fact that this is human trafficking. These terrified girls are more often than not, kidnapped and traded between communities in the U.S., Mexico and Canada as sex slaves, for domestic servitude or as one would horses to 'breed the best stock", hoping for strapping young males for child labor.
In 27 states, the law does not specify any minimum age below which a child cannot marry. In a survey of marriage licenses, at least 167,000 children under 18 were married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010. Statistics are not available for later years
Forced marriage has several important parallels with human trafficking. Each year, thousands of girls are removed from U.S. schools and forced to be married. Girls who resist or refuse these marriages may be subjected to physical and emotional abuse, confinement in the home, or even death. Once married, victims experience include increased rates of infant and maternal mortality, rape, domestic violence and suicide. The coercion, exploitation and ongoing violence involved in these scenarios mirrors the key traits of human trafficking.
"Child bride" Brenda Lei Fischer with her son by Jeffs. In the background, you can see the photos of Prophets Warren and Rulon Jeffs.
Our brave Ruby Jessop, forced into marriage at age 14, bore her first of six children from rape at age 16, escaped, but kidnapped back and hidden in Canada. After 7 tortuous years Ruby heroically escaped again with all six children and gained custody.
MMAD sponsors the family with a home, job training, therapy, babysitting and camp. Our lovely spokeswoman has just been promoted to manager at a restaurant where only 2 years ago, she didn't understand the basic diner menu. She is presently studying for her GED.