Norway: Children facing forced marriages

Norway: Children facing forced marriages

As a youth in her parent's homeland, Norwegian Pakistani Jeanette experienced a nightmare. Three days after the wedding invitations were sent out, she discovered that she would get married.

Monica Berge is the head of the Red Cross hotline against forced marriage and FGM. She says that they've seen children as young as 14 facing forced marriages.

According to the Red Cross, 49 of the youth who's contacted the organization since January last year were forced to marry before they reached 18.

The organization Self-Help for Immigrants and Refugees (SEIF) was also contacted by 14 year old who were afraid their parents will force them to marry.

Most of those who are forced to marry in Norway are over 18.

And yet, there are more and more children among those who ask for help since they fear forced marriage. Close to half of those who call the Red Cross on this issue now are minors.

"They tell of sleeping problems, eating disorders, difficulties concentrating and thoughts of suicide," says Monica Berge.

Norwegian-Pakistani Jeanette managed in the end to escape the forced marriage and now lives a new life in Norway. But she still remembers the coercion.

"The worst thing was to feel that my thoughts could never come out because society expected something else of me," she says.

Many youth experience grave violence and death threats if they refuse to marry whoever the family wishes, says Monica Berge of the Red Cross.

Source: NRK (Norwegian)

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