Child Marriage Around the World: Missouri, USA — Pam Strawbridge

County recorder Pam Strawbridge signed many marriage licenses in her 40-year career in Pemiscot County Missouri, and hated to sign the ones she said were for “babies.” Strawbridge says her signature is on the union of at least one 13-year-old who came to Missouri to be married.

Before they passed a tougher law in 2018 (the minimum age is now 16), Missouri had no conditions on 15-year-olds getting married, and required anyone younger than 14 to get a judge’s permission. Now, if one person is younger than 18 and the other is 21 or older, the state won’t issue the couple a license.

Voice of America reporters around the world focused on the worth of a girl to reveal how a young bride is valued by two families: the one she leaves behind and the one she joins. Explore the full project