Muslim Child brides in forced marriages from the Middle East are turning up in refugee centers in The Netherlands, and Dutch authorities are at a loss on how to deal with the problem. Social workers are faced with a horrifying dilemma: return girls as young as 13 to their middle-aged husbands and, in the process, turn a blind eye to what would be government-sanctioned child rape; or break up families?
OR-politics Many girls, some as young as 13, have turned up in Dutch asylum centers with their much-older husbands. Although Dutch law doesn’t allow girls to marry until 16, it also recognizes foreign marriages of younger girls if the marriage is legal in the bride and groom’s country of origin.
Dutch politician Attje Kuiken is appalled, and wants the law updated to protect refugee child brides from what she sees as sexual abuse. “A 12-year-old girl with a 40-year-old-man – that is not a marriage, that is paedophilia. We’re talking about really young children, girls 12, 13 years old who are victims of legal sexual abuse in their home countries.
Dutch immigration minister Klaas Dijkhoff is working on getting his country’s immigration laws updated to only recognize foreign marriages if both partners are over the age of 18. In the meantime, child brides are proliferating among the migrants.