Child Marriage


The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you.
Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision.
– Neil Gaiman

Child marriage is a global issue. Almost always, child marriage involves a girl marrying an adult man, and often a much older man. Child marriage is by definition forced marriage.

Judges in the United States are allowed to approve child marriages when the age difference should result in a statutory rape charge, not a marriage license. Child marriage interrupts or often ends a girl’s education and her access to social services. In the United States there are some astonishing contradictions associated with child marriage that leave a girl in legal limbo. If a minor wants to divorce, she is essentially seeking to modify a contract. However, minors cannot act as their own agent in a contract. The laws are contradictory by allowing the marriage but not the agency. It is essential that all states pass legislation that ban child marriage. Norway, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, and Zimbabwe are among the few countries that have banned child marriage. Almost everywhere else in the world, girls are at risk of losing their childhood, their opportunities, and their agency. There is a long way to go to meet the UN deadline of the 2030 worldwide ban. Child marriage is no less than trafficking and a human rights violation. 18 No Exceptions.


Map Updated 5/21/24

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Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch opposes all marriage of children under the age of 18, without exception, because of the devastating consequences for children who marry, the vast majority of whom are girls. HRW investigates and reports on abuses happening in all corners of the world and directs advocacy towards governments, pushing them to change or enforce their laws, policies, and practices. HRW advocates for girls’ and women’s rights as human rights.

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Girls Not Brides

Girls Not Brides is a global partnership of more than 1500 civil society organisations from over 100 countries committed to ending child marriage and enabling girls to fulfill their potential. With its partners, Girls Not Brides collaborates to prevent child marriage and support girls who are, or have ever been married, raise awareness of the harmful impact of child marriage, mobilize all necessary policy, financial and other support to end child marriage.

Global Network on Mental Health and Child Marriage

Global Network on Mental Health and Child Marriage

Global Network on Mental Health and Child Marriage, housed at University College London’s Institute for Global Health, is a network of organisations and individuals focused on the mental health consequences of child, early and forced marriage around the globe. Global Network on Mental Health and Child Marriage works collectively to develop priority areas for research, policy and advocacy, to respond to the largely overlooked mental health needs of those who have been affected by this practice.

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CARE works around the globe to save lives, defeat poverty, and achieve social justice. With strategic partners and by putting women and girls at the forefront of their programs, CARE promotes equal rights and opportunities, essential in overcoming poverty.  CARE complements programming with advocacy supporting the efforts of poor women, girls and families by promoting policy reforms that improve U.S. foreign assistance programs and address the lack of access to resources and opportunities.

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Unchained At Last

Unchained At Last is the only organization dedicated to ending forced and child marriage in the United States through direct services and advocacy. Unchained provides crucial legal and social services, always for free, to help women, girls and others in the U.S. to escape arranged/forced marriages. At the same time, Unchained pushes for social, policy and legal change; the organization started and now leads a growing national movement to eliminate child marriage in every U.S. state and at the federal level.


Too Young To Wed

Too Young to Wed (TYTW) envisions a world where every girl decides for herself if and when to marry, girls are free to be children and teens with access to gender-specific healthcare and all levels of education, and all girls are free to determine the course of their own lives.

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VOW to End Child Marriage

VOW to End Child Marriage is an initiative that gives the wedding industry, companies, couples, and individuals a role to play in ending child marriage around the globe. VOW ensures that 100% of funds raised go directly to grassroots organizations working to end child marriage.

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UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to End Child Marriage

The UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to End Child Marriage promotes the rights of adolescent girls to avert marriage and pregnancy, and enables them to achieve their aspirations through education and alternative pathways. The Global Programme empowers girls to direct their own futures and addresses the underlying conditions that sustain child marriage, advocating for laws and policies that protects girls’ rights while highlighting the importance of using robust data to inform such policies.


Educate Girls Now

Educate Girls Now seeks to empower the daughters of Afghanistan through education and self-determination. As a project of the Global 500 Environmental Forum, Educate Girls Now’s grassroots approach to aid distribution prioritizes the education of female children, in a society where they are all too often an afterthought, by tying critical food and fuel aid to their academic success.  This method ensures that the girls are signing lessons rather than marriage contracts resulting in a long-term investment in the family, the community, and country.

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Girls First Fund

Girls First Fund is a donor collaborative supported by leading philanthropic organizations and individual philanthropists who have come together to champion community-led efforts so that all girls can live free from child marriage and create their own future. The Girls First Fund is focused on ending child marriage with grantmaking directed to community-based and locally-focused national organizations, providing an easy mechanism for other philanthropists to join with grantee-partners.

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Women’s Justice Initiative

The Women’s Justice Initiative employs a holistic approach to prevent child marriage and gender based violence, improve access to justice in rural Guatemala, and provide Mayan women and girls with the tools to become leaders in their community. Working directly with indigenous women, the WJI is breaking intergenerational cycles of violence and inequality.


Gufasha Girls Foundation

Gufasha Girls Foundation advocates against child marriage and promotes girls’ education in Uganda. Gufasha Girls Foundation is building a generation of empowered girls by focusing on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Target 5 to promote gender equity through education, health programs, and economic empowerment of women.

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Global Hope 365

Global Hope 365 is dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls, locally, nationally, and worldwide through raising awareness, education, collaboration, and prevention. Their focus is on ending harmful practices toward women and girls such as, Child Marriage, Human Trafficking, and other forms of gender-based violence.


Raising Teenagers Uganda

Raising Teenagers Uganda empowers girls to reach their full potential with support and programming to complete their education, maintain health, and advocating against child marriage. RTU programming extends to parents to sensitize them about the importance of educating their daughters, and to engaging men and boys in the programs designed to protect girls. Their active participation will create great impact in the campaign to end teenage pregnancy and child marriage and promote male youth engagement and positive masculinities. RTU advocates for the right to quality education for every child. Ending menstrual stigma is our focus. Ending child marriage is our pride.

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Women's Justice Initiative

Women’s Justice Initiative employs a holistic approach to prevent child marriage and gender-based violence, improve access to justice in rural based Guatemala, and provide Maya girls and women with the tools to become leaders in their communities. By working directly with indigenous women, WJI is breaking intergenerational cycles of violence and inequality.

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Students Against Child Marriage

Students Against Child Marriage is the first nationwide student organization committed to ending child marriage. SACM’s mission is to promote advocacy, awareness, and research to elevate survivor voices, energize student activism, and end child marriage throughout the United States.