Migrant crisis exacerbates child marriage controversy in Europe

In the coming week, Sweden will vote on a law that would invalidate marriages carried out in other countries when those involved are younger than 18.

Editorial Team
Editorial Team NewsMavens, Europe
Migrant crisis exacerbates child marriage controversy in Europe - NewsMavens
Child on a swing. Pexels

Why this story matters:

--by Melanie Taylor

Europe has faced an unprecedented influx of immigrants since 2015. This rise in visibility of migrants has shone a light on the prevalence of child marriage, a common issue with refugees.

Child marriage has been correlated to a higher instance of girls dropping out of school, falling into poverty, or facing domestic violence. For this reason, many view this proposed Swedish law to be a step in the right direction concerning women's rights.

"We need to let children be children no matter if they are from Sweden or another country," My Hellberg of TRIS, a non-profit in Sweden that provides shelter for women facing honor-based violence, said.

On the other hand, though, the law faces charges of Islamophobia. Islam does not permit sex out of wedlock, but Sweden's age of consent is 15. Therefore, the new law is seen as discriminatory in that it stifles the consent of Muslim girls younger than 18. Herein lies the dilemma that frequently plagues Eurocentric thought when confronting Eastern cultures. Sweden will decide where they stand this week.

Details from the story:

  • It is already illegal in Sweden for domestic marriages to occur when one or more parties is under the age of 18.
  • It is impossible to know how many migrant girls are afflicted by child marriage because many choose not to report it.
  • Sweden's vote is set for Wednesday, Nov. 21.
  • The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and Germany have all enacted similar legislation in the past three years.

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The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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