17 September 2012


UN photo/ John Isaac
According to the NGO "Girls not Brides" an estimated 10 million girls under 18 are forced into marriage each year. While boys are sometimes subjected to early marriage, girls are disproportionately affected and form the vast majority of the victims of child marriage. In Dec 2011, the UN declared Oct 11th as the International Day of the Girl Child  and the theme chosen for the inaugural celebration of this day is ‘Ending Child Marriage’

The issue of servile or forced marriage was also raised in the recent report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, Gulnara Shahinian, to the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Servile marriage was named as an issue that affected both adults and children and violated their right to health, education, non-discrimination and freedom from physical, psychological and sexual violence.

In the meantime the Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans group (ACRATH) has completed a very successful lobbying visit to the Australian National Capital in Canberra during which they raised a range of trafficking-related issues such as forced marriages, housing, immigration, Special Benefits allowances, access to quality English classes for trafficked people, slave-free supply chains, and Overseas Development Assistance. Details of the visit can be found in the ACRATH newsletter.

Whilst in New York, Edmund Rice International team member Kevin Cawley cfc continues to be active in the NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons which is currently examining ways to engage member states who have signed the Palermo Protocols regarding Human Trafficking and is also evaluating the success of addressing the issue at the London Olympics.

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