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Advocates call for forced marriage education in schools

Each year 14 million girls are forced into marriage according to the children’s charity Plan. While it often occurs in African and South Asian countries, it’s still an issue in Australia.

Forced marriage has been illegal in Australia for 12 months, following amendments to the Slavery Act last year.

The Slavery Act now recognises forced marriage as a serious form of exploitation and is punishable with up to seven years imprisonment.  Dr Eman Sharobeem was forced to marry when she was 15 years old. She’s since devoted her life to helping others avoid the same fate. Speaking at a forum at the NSW parliament, she says simply changing the law isn’t enough.

“I didn’t see it yet. I didn’t see the change,” she said. “I didn’t see that having a piece of… some words embedded in legislation changed the community understanding.”

“My call is about education and learning, not to see the parents of the victim locked up behind bars. I’m happy that we have changes to the legislation but at the same time we need to tackle the issue from its core.”

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