For the past four years, I’ve worked with Human Rights Watch researchers around the world as they document the devastating consequences of child marriage. Our team has interviewed hundreds of married children in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Malawi, Nepal, South Sudan, Tanzania, Yemen, and Zimbabwe. They have found some things are true everywhere – child marriage threatens girls’ mental and physical health, places them at heightened risk of violence, and often permanently ends their education.
Working at Human Rights Watch’s office in Manhattan, it’s easy to feel as if these problems are far away – but they’re not. Hundreds of child marriages take place every year in my home state of New York – and across the US.