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    Migrants aged between 16 and 21 years, coming from different countries, attend a lesson on basics in law by Bavarian Justice Minister Winfried Bausback (unseen) at a trade school in Ansbach, Germany, January 11, 2016. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

    Forced to Marry & Flee, Child Brides Seeking Asylum in Scandinavia‏

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    Norway has found more than 61 children seeking asylum arrived married to older men. The youngest child bride asylum seeker was just 11 years old.

    Official figures from the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufdir) and seen by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK), reveal that 61 migrants applying for asylum status in the Scandinavian country were under the age of 18.

    At least ten were under 16, 49 girls and two boys were aged between 16 and 17.  At least two young girls were expecting their second baby and a child bride as young as 11 had arrived in the last three months.

    Mari Trommald, director of Bufdir told NRK:

    "We are looking very seriously at children under 18 who are in danger of being subjected to sexual abuse, violence and coercion. We are committed to helping these children and preventing forced situations." 

    The age of consent in Norway is 16.

    "Norwegian law applies in Norway, and we are therefore concerned to make sure no child is subjected to sexual relations, violence or other coercive situations when they are in Norway," Mari Trommald explained.

    Trommald told of a case involving a 14 year old pregnant girl who had arrived in Norway with her 23 year old husband and their 18 month old baby. The pair currently live separately while the husband is investigated by the police. 

    However, Thale Skybakk from children’s charity Save the Children in Norway told NRK that it wasn’t always best for child brides to be separated from their older husbands, "one has to make an individual assessment as to what is best for the child".

    Devastating Lifelong Impacts

    The child brides seeking asylum in Norway, mainly come from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

    IKWRO, a women’s rights organization in the UK founded to protect Middle Eastern and Afghan women and girls at risk of ‘honor’ based violence, including child marriage, believes, "child marriage has devastating lifelong impacts".

    "It denies childhood and can subject the victim to a lifetime of rape and other forms of sexual abuse and physical violence, as well as emotional, financial and physical control."

    According to UNICEF, a baby born to a mother under the age of 18 is 60 percent more likely to perish in its first year of life than a baby born to a mother who is over the age of 19.

    Norway’s minister of immigration and integration Sylvi Listhaug, who is responsible for the government’s asylum policy, told NRK: "This is a custom that comes from other countries that are far removed what we are used to".

    "It is absolutely reprehensible," she said, suggesting the authorities could punish adult men arriving in Norway with wives under the legal age of consent. Forced marriage is illegal in Norway.

    Unni Wikan, a Norwegian social anthropologist, told NRK that further cases are likely to arise in countries across Europe and present further dilemmas on how to handle child bride asylum seekers.

    "Norway may have to accept that underage refugees are married and have children," Wikan said.

    Charity, Save the Children is calling for procedures and guidelines to be issued advising agencies on how to handle individual cases of child brides seeking asylum with their adult husbands. 

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    Tags:
    child brides, child abuse, abuse, violence, human rights, Scandinavia, Norway, Europe
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    • Jet fuel can't melt steel beams
      Well save those poor kids and deport those "husbands"..
    • Huh?in reply toJet fuel can't melt steel beams(Show commentHide comment)
      Jet fuel can't melt steel beams,
      As we all know, this is tenuous ground. I feel it shaking as I type those words. It seems anything one says will be wrong...but here goes.

      We have discussed cultural differences in the past and I am not in agreement with a culture that marries off young girls. Not withstanding my opinion, I have to ask the questions; Is it ignorance or blatant ambivalence that brings these people to Europe? I ask because there are laws against child brides et al. And, if these child brides are seeking asylum, wouldn't they be traveling alone to escape this type of circumstance?
      The fact of a pregnant 14 year traveling with her 18 month old kid and 23 husband creates some questions.
      How do you adjudicate a circumstance that has happened outside the jurisdiction of a host nation?
      If it is legal in whatever country, then how can you go back and try to make the situation fit the law?

      Like I said...tenuous ground. But let me reiterate....I am in no way agreeing with or subscribing to kids getting married. I often wonder if anyone should get married.
    • Jet fuel can't melt steel beamsin reply toHuh?(Show commentHide comment)
      Huh?, I'm pretty sure it's not legal in countries where the majority are muslims, the only thing is that some of those countries are just a bunch of tribes living in a country(Irak/Afghanistan/Somalia/Lybia) and childs being married is a part of their "tradition". Unfortunately the majority of those migrants think this is either "religious" or "normal". Anyway in Norway they should obey the law if you ask my opinion.
    • Huh?in reply toJet fuel can't melt steel beams(Show commentHide comment)
      Jet fuel can't melt steel beams,
      I agree with the tribal position...fits the model. And, should they obey the law in the host nation? Yes, I agree they should...but this also makes the assumption of knowing the law. But, I think we can agree that ANYONE as an adult that marries a kid, has GOT to know this is screwed up and wrong, no matter where or under what conditions they live.
    • Jet fuel can't melt steel beamsin reply toHuh?(Show commentHide comment)
      Huh?, I agree but in order for them to know.... they should be educated firstly and then not being too radical.. basically if you come to teach them some stuff well who knows how would they react? This is a strong factor (as we can already see it in germany..) they're not open minded because of a retrograd ideology..
    • Huh?in reply toJet fuel can't melt steel beams(Show commentHide comment)
      Jet fuel can't melt steel beams,
      We are seeing a massive digression in Europe...it is without a doubt a ...WTF! moment.

      Europe is once again in the Dark Ages coupled with the Stone Age.....with a sprinkling of Plague and just a touch of Halal for spice.
      Are rats halal?
    • Jet fuel can't melt steel beamsin reply toHuh?(Show commentHide comment)
      Huh?, This wave of migrants is unfortunately not "brain drain wave" . We surely have to deal with some ex-cons, ex-terrorists, wannabee thugs well brain dead..hence as you said some people coming from the stone age (maybe 5% are good in that mess/mass?)
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