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Twitter chat: Forced marriage in the U.S.? It happens here

When it comes to forced marriage and child marriage, few think of the United States. But in a new two-part series airing this week, PBS NewsHour special correspondent Gayle Tzemach Lemmon reports the stories of several women in the United States who have experienced the issue firsthand.

Following this two-part report, we will have a conversation on Twitter at 1 p.m. EDT on Friday. Joining us for this chat will be Lemmon (@gaylelemmon), Casey Swegman of Tahirih Justice Center (@tahirihjustice), Mabel van Oranje of Girls Not Brides (@GirlsNotBrides), Becky Allen and Anne Connell of Council on Foreign Relations Women & Foreign Policy program (@CFR_WFP), Erin Kelly and Lyric Thompson of International Center for Research on Women (@ICRW) and Fraidy Reiss of Unchained At Last (@UnchainedAtLast). Follow along with the hashtag #NewsHourChats.

Before joining the chat Friday, watch two clips from the full series below.

In part 1, we meet Nina Van Harn, a 33-year-old Michigan woman who has launched a precedent-setting, first-of-its-kind legal case seeking an annulment on the grounds that her marriage at the age of 19 was against her will. Van Harn said she had to leave her family to break from the ultra-conservative community that sanctioned what she considered a forced marriage.

Video by PBS NewsHour

In part 2, we hear from Jada, a New Jersey girl who was brought by her father to live in Saudi Arabia. When Jada was 12 years old, her father began talking of marrying her off. When Jada’s half-sister appealed for help, advocates fighting forced marriage found that the U.S. State Department was largely powerless to stop a marriage in another country from going forward. Because American citizens must abide by the laws of the country they are in, Jada’s U.S.-based relatives were left to figure out how to avoid the marriage and get Jada back home to the U.S.

Video by PBS NewsHour

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