More than 50 girls in New South Wales were trafficked into forced marriages to older men, with some ‘brides’ being as young as nine years old.
Australia’s Seven News obtained documents from the Australian Federal Police on child marriage in the country. In just two years, a total of 57 children were victims of forced marriage in Australia, with almost all, 51, being from the Sydney area.
The AFP documents included: references to an email from a girl who wrote she was being held against her will and being forced to marry; a situation report with allegations of a forced marriage at the end of the school year; and a human trafficking referral of a girl who was forced to travel outside of Australia and then exploited.
Family and Community Services Minister Pru Goward said that children were under “enormous pressure” from their parents to marry. The minister said ‘the community’ “does know” that child brides do exist, but they choose to “turn the other cheek”, and ignore it.
Ms. Goward urged friends and relatives of children at risk of being trafficked or forced into marriage to come forward and to tell the children they do not have to marry, otherwise “we’ll end up with a continuation of forced marriages”.
Officials are left helpless to save the children once they leave the country, with documents noting the case of two young sisters from the Sydney suburb of Liverpool who were trafficked overseas for marriage. The AFP admitted all they could do was wait to see if the girls came back to Australia…..
A video of the ceremony shows the cleric instructing the girl that “as a wife, you have a duty to obey your husband”. The groom, meanwhile, is advised of his obligation to provide the minor with a “sexual education”.
The number of girls seeking help from the UK’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) for fear of being trafficked into a forced marriage is at a record high, with figures showing that as of the end of 2016, there has been just one conviction for child marriage in Britain.
Following the migrant crisis on the continent, the number of Muslim child brides in Germany’s capital, Berlin, is on the rise, and in Scandinavia, child ‘wives’ are being ‘tolerated‘ in migrant centres in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden.
Denmark has been forced to allow ‘wives’ as young as 14 to be reunited with their ‘husbands’ after authorities deciding that upholding child protection laws breached migrants’ human rights.