Germany Now Has More Than 1,000 Documented Child Marriages

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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Germany is struggling to prevent and keep track of the over 1,000 child marriages taking place in the country.

Child marriages have not been an issue in Germany until recent years. The practice is illegal in Germany, but since the country doesn’t recognize “religious marriages,” authorities can’t do anything to stop it in most cases.

German television channel N24 claims the number of child marriages in the country now exceeds 1,000, and that the actual number is believed to significantly higher.

An anonymous teacher told newspaper Welt am Sonntag that young girls often suddenly stop showing up to school after getting married.

“There are frequently cases where a girl, usually between 13 and 15 years of age, suddenly no longer come to school,” the teacher said in an article published Sunday.

Child marriages are becoming more frequent in refugee camps in the Middle East.

SOS Children’s Villages estimates that half of all marriages in Syria involve a partner under the age of 18. The same figure was 13 percent before the civil war broke out.

One of the main reasons, according to the organization, is that families are desperate to secure a financial future for their daughters in a time of uncertainty.

“Many observers are afraid this will be a ‘lost generation,’” Alia Al Dalli, SOS Children’s Villages’ international director for the Middle East and North Africa Region, said in June. “Another concern is psychological trauma, as children in war situations often face a very unstable environment of displacement, abuse, trafficking, exploitation and other risks.”

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