Tax Agency authorized child marriage

2:26 min

A marriage between a 14-year-old girl and a 21-year-old man was mistakenly authorized last year by the Swedish Tax Agency.

The two were asylum seekers last summer and ended up in Gothenburg and because the case involved a child, Gothenburg social services got involved. They decided the couple would be placed in an apartment together in a different municipality in western Sweden.

This decision angered the social services office in the municipality where the couple was sent to live. One of the chiefs there told Swedish Radio News that it is impossible to live up to the Social Welfare Act and ensure the safe upbringing of a child if that child is living married to an adult.

But Gothenburg's social services chief, Ragnhild Ekelund, disagrees.

"The question is where a person is going to find security. It can be possible that that security is the partner one is with," Ekelund told Swedish Radio News.

The case has provoked strong feelings, but is just one of several examples in the past few years of child marriages that have been recognized in Sweden.

Since 2013, three 15-year-olds, one 16-year-old and seven 17-year-olds have been registered as married in Sweden, all of them girls.

Last year, the laws regarding child marriage were toughened, especially those against forced marriages. After 2009, marriages of people under 15 are not allowed to be authorized. However, this marriage was mistakenly authorized by the tax authorities, making it official.

When the social services in the couple's municipality notified the tax authorities of the marriage, however, the marriage was annulled and the girl was given different housing.