In the United States’ defense, we are a very “First World” country. About everyone you meet has a cell phone, a computer, and some sort of video streaming service. Even though the US is one of the most advanced countries, we still have our setbacks.
I’m sure you assume there are no more children being forced into marriage in the US, but in that case, I would have to tell you - you're wrong. Shockingly enough, child marriages are legal in every state with the right persuasion and jumping through loopholes in the marriage laws (like parental consent).
In most states, minors are allowed to marry at the age of 16 with parental consent, but anything younger has to be signed off by a judge. You can be sobbing in front of the court and it wouldn't make a difference. That’s right; the judicial system can sign all of your rights away to perhaps a person you’ve never met or maybe someone that is eight years older than you. Just wait, it gets worse.
Recently, the states with the highest rates of minor marriage are West Virginia, Texas, Nevada, Alabama, Idaho, and Kentucky. “These states share high rates of poverty and are home to religious conservatives who often see marriage as the solution to teenage sex and premarital pregnancy. Some even condone marriage when it results from statutory rape.” (theconversation.com) It's also not unheard of for district attorneys to waive prosecution of a sex offender “if a girl’s statutory rapist agrees to marry her and her parents are also supportive.”
According to nolo.com, minors in California can many at 14 years of age. That’s how old most of the freshman are. In fact, there are about 20 states don’t even specify an age that a child needs to reach before getting married. “In the past 15 years, more than 207,000 minors have become legally wed in the United States, many marrying below the age of consent to sex in their states.” (theconversation.com)
Once you are a married minor, you are more than less seen as an adult. In Florida, married minors are responsible for his/her own estate, can sue or be sued, and can decide on medical decisions and consent to treatment on their own behalf (www.wallsheinlaw.com). But hypothetically speaking, let's say you were in that position. Let’s say you married a 24-year-old. Perhaps your 24-year-old husband/wife becomes abusive, physically or mentally. Since you are still underage, you are not permitted by law to initiate a divorce. Most attorneys won’t even touch your case and you are stuck with this person until the age of 18.
Child marriages are happening right in your hometowns America. Wake up.