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Sweden sees rise in forced and child marriages

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Sweden has seen a sharp rise in reports of child and forced marriages, says the hotline established by the County Administrative Board.
The hotline that seeks to help children and young people who are being forced into marriage received at least 130 phone calls in 2018, a massive increase compared to the 101 calls it received in the period 2014 up to and including 2017 collectively. As reported by newsweek.

It is extremely important that all parties involved, including schools, social services, prosecutors, police and courts know what to do and have the knowledge and procedures to handle this type of situation. In addition, they must cooperate and, above all, stop crimes before they happen,” says Negin Amirekthiar, an expert at the National Competence Team against Honor-Related Violence and Repression.
Amirekthiar also stated that an increase in reports doesn´t have to mean that there are more victims than in previous years. People have become more aware of the issue.

Despite the 101 reported cases between 2014 and 2018 in Sweden, where forced and child marriages are illegal, no more than six resulted in court convictions during the same period.

“Sweden has been bad at providing people who come here with clear information about how our system works, about this society’s views on children’s rights, gender equality, family policies and parents’ and guardians’ responsibilities. While we insist that Sweden protect children’s rights and that we promote a child-centered approach to children’s welfare, we have allowed children of foreign backgrounds to live as married women with older men,” said Juno Blom, a member of the Liberal Party who is running for parliament in the general election that takes place tomorrow.

A 2016 report from the Swedish Migration Agency found that 132 underaged asylum seekers – mainly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan – reported that they were married when arriving in Sweden after August 1, 2015.
The National Board of Health and Welfare removed a brochure titled “Information for Those Married to a Child” in March after it received criticism for not sending a clear message to those who were moving to the country.

There is no retroactivity in Swedish legislation, but our stance is that we should not recognize marriages where either of the parties is a child or was a child when he or she got married,” Minister for Children Lena Hallengren told the publication.

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