"During the vacation, young people can leave the country without anyone in their vicinity, such as school teachers or friends responding to their disappearance," Jenny Edin, prosecutor for honor-related crimes at the National Operations Department (Noa) said in a statement on the police's website.
Afterwards, girls return to the class in autumn already married. Sometimes they even stay in another country. It also happens that the girls themselves respond. If they manage to get to a phone, they may call the Swedish embassy in the country they are in, the Swedish authorities or simply someone they know in Sweden. In these cases the police are able to find out what has happened and start proceedings, the police statement said.
"In most cases, forced marriage involves coercion for both parties. The difference is that the girls are often very young, while the boys are older and sometimes have sexual experience. The boys' actions are by far less limited than girls', who often have no room for action at all," Jan Dandanelle, an expert on honor-related crimes, said in the police statement.
Sweden saw the numbers of forced marriages and child brides, both of which were previously unbeknown to the Nordic country, take off since the migrant crisis, when tens of thousands asylum seekers, mostly from the Mid-Eastern countries, arrived in Sweden.
In March, Mikael Eskilandersson of the Sweden Democrats Party advocated that Sweden should follow in neighboring Denmark's footsteps and introduce a "24-year rule" in an opinion piece in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. According to Danish law, residence permits are given to couples where both spouses are aged 24 and over, which is said to specifically target exploitation, coercion and forced marriage.
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