Some 60 Syrian child brides, as young as 14, entered Netherlands
Between September last year and January this year about 60 Syrian child-brides arrived in the Netherlands, the youngest of which was only 14 years old, according to a report Corinne Dettmeijer, the National Rapporteur on Human Trafficking and Sexual Violence against Children, released on Thursday. In the report Dettmeijer also raises concern about Roma and LGBT children being vulnerable to human trafficking.
According to Dettmeijer the Syrian child brides all arrived in the country with an adult male. The youngest of them was 14 years old. There are others who got married in Syria from the age of 12 but were older when they arrived in the Netherlands. The age difference between the girls and their husbands usually ranges between 5 and 15 years.
"These girls often find themselves in social isolation through which eventual abuse and exploitation can last a long time. There is a risk that they will eventually become house slaves or hidden women", Dettmeijer said. The girls are at risk of falling victim to spousal abuse, rape, exploitation or other forms of violence.
Dettmeijer is also concerned about Roma-children. Child marriages also happen in this community and some children. In addition to that, there are also Roma kids forced to steal on the streets. If they are caught, they are punished criminally without consideration that they were forced into the acts.
Finally the rapporteur expressed her concern for the vulnerability of gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual kids to human trafficking. According to her, these kids are "extra interesting for human traffickers, especially if they grow up in a religious or migrant community. They run a high risk of falling into the wrong hands because they are not accepted in their own environment."
The Rapporteur calls for a targeted approach to protect all three of these groups of children.