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Advocates: Forced marriage laws needed

NEW YORK, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Advocates say better laws should be on the books to protect young girls and women who refuse forced marriages in the United States.

A survey conducted by the Tahirih Justice Center shows about 300 New York state women and 3,000 nationwide were forced into marriage within a two-year span, the New York Daily News reported Tuesday.

"In the United States there are zero laws in place that specifically deal with forced marriage," said Tahirih director Layli Miller-Muro. "That's what makes it so hard to help victims."

Advocates say the women often face physical abuse and even death for refusing to go along with a forced marriage, which can sometimes benefit the parents financially.

Archana Pyati, a lawyer for the New York City-based Sanctuary for Families said one client was forced into marriage by her mother when she was 13 years old.

"The man enrolled her in school as her father and went home every night and raped her," Pyati said.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

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