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America's Child Brides

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Genre: Factual
Production Year: 2018

Broadcaster: BBC Three
Producer: Sugar Films

In almost every state in America, minors are allowed to get married, providing they have parental consent, or are pregnant. Since 2001, an astounding 200,000 children have tied the knot nationwide, many to avoid parental shame or to stop men being charged with statutory rape. Follow reporter Ellie Flynn as she looks into the dangerous loophole in American law that allows children as young as 12 to marry. Ellie uncovers shocking stories of young pregnancies and of parents both providing their consent and coercing their young children into marriage. She also reveals that in some states lenient judges allow this to happen through inaction, preferring to see child marriage as a family issue. The documentary includes interviews with a number of affected people, including a 15-year-old bride, a female senator keen to change the law, and a former child bride whose parents actively assisted in her marriage. It also interrogates the law and finds that changing it and enforcing a ban is difficult, not least as many parents, and some children, are outraged at the prospect of their rights being infringed.

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