59 refugee girls housed with adult men
The city of Malmö placed 59 minor-aged girls into housing with their adult husbands last year and so far this year, Swedish Radio News reports. The girls are all aged between 15 and 17, below the age for marriage under Swedish law.
This is shown in a report drafted by the social services at the request of the ruling Social Democrats and opposition conservative Moderates on the Malmö city council. The oldest of the men is a 36 year old who was housed together with a pregnant 16 year old girl.
Married refugee minors are considered to be unaccompanied in Sweden as child marriage is illegal here.
“It’s a complex situation,” says Annelie Larsson, an administrator with Malmö social services. “But I think these situations are so serious that we obviously have to follow-up and make sure this is voluntary.”
Annelie Larsson says it isn’t clear cut how the social services should act in such situations:
“If it’s a forced marriage, it’s obvious she won’t say that during our first conversation. It’s difficult for me to see how we could immediately take custody of a 17 year old girl who says she absolutely wants to live with her husband in their new home. So it’s important that we follow-up.”
The city’s lawyers are to consider what should be done about the situation. Twelve of the girls are 15 years old; some of them have been housed with men twice their age.