Posts Tagged ‘child exploitation’

Girl forced to marry a 78-year-old when she was just NINE is freed after four years of marriage in Kenya

A girl in Kenya who was forced to marry a man old enough to be her grandfather when she was only nine years old has been freed after four years of hell.

Younis, 13, who is part of the Samburu tribe, was married off by her parents in accordance to tribal custom, which also includes female genital mutilation and offering girls to male relatives for sex.

She was forced to live with the 78-year-old man for four years until she escaped and walked barefoot to a boarding school for girls called the Samburu Girls Foundation.

Tragic tale: Younis endured four years of  trauma after being married off to a 78-year-old man by her parents
Tragic tale: Younis endured four years of  trauma after being married off to a 78-year-old man by her parents

Explaining her harrowing and heartbreaking tale, Younis told CNN: ‘When I was about nine years old, my father married me off to an old man who was 78 years old’  ‘He told me that I will be a wife but I was just innocent, I wanted to come to school. But that man wanted me to be a third wife. I told him, I will not be your wife, and he caned me.’

Luckily for Younis and around 200 other girls across Kenya, the Samburu Girls Foundation offered her a way out.

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Female genital mutilation(#FGM): Thousands of victims ‘residing in the UK’

(CNN)According to UNICEF, 30 million women worldwide are likely to endure female genital mutilation (FGM) within the next eight years. And a new report suggests that the problem is widespread in the UK.

FGM, or cutting, which is illegal in the UK, is a procedure where the female genital organs are partially or fully removed or injured, but without medical reason.

It is usually carried out on girls from infancy up to the age of 15, but older women can also be subjected to it. The research states that in certain cultures, the practice is believed to restrain a female’s sexual appetite and prepare her for marriage.

The female can end up with severe bleeding, problems urinating, cysts, infections, infertility, complications in childbirth, increased risk of newborn deaths as well as emotional scars. Their own lives are also at risk.

An estimated 137,000 women and girls, aged from infancy to above 50, who have gone through FGM and were born in countries where it is practiced were permanent residents in England and Wales in 2011, according to the latest research carried out in 2014. And there are significantly high rates in London.

Although the figures are based on interim findings by London’s City University and the NGO Equality Now, the highest numbers were found in London boroughs, with 47.4 per 1,000 women in Southwark in the south of the city and 38.9 per 1,000 in Brent in the north west, compared to 0.5% in England and Wales as a whole.

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Dramatic Video Shows Stark Contrast Between Life As A Child Bride And As A School Girl

Girls give up a lot when they are forced into marriage.

A video produced by UNICEF highlights how different life is for a child bride as compared to a girl who can access an education.

The PSA — which focuses on child brides in Chad — begins with a girl who died during childbirth. It follows the girl’s life in reverse, reliving each step that preceded her death, before revealing how her life could have unfolded, had she avoided marriageand gone to school instead.

It ends with the girl happily attending class and meeting new friends.

“Girls who are married before their 18th birthdays are not only denied their childhood, but are often socially isolated and subjected to violence and limited opportunities for education and employment,” Bruno Maes, UNICEF representative in Chad, said, according to the organization. The humanitarian group notes that, in Chad, a girl is more likely to die giving birth than to attend secondary school.

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Children centre staff trained to spot signs of FGM

Children’s centre staff are being trained to spot the signs of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) amid concerns that girls of nursery age are being subjected to the practice.


Staff in two children’s centres in Islington in London have undertaken training to help them recognise children who might be at risk of FGM, and to be able to reach out to parents in practising communities.

The training, arranged by Manor Gardens, a local charity, forms part of a wider council programme aimed at protecting girls from the practice. If successful, Islington Council plans to roll out training to all 16 of its children’s centres.

The training comes as the NSPCC raises concerns that girls are being subjected to FGM at a younger age because parents are becoming wise to the fact that teachers are now more aware of the issue.


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Rotherham: As a Pakistani woman, I’d welcome a police force that didn’t rely on imams

Like everybody else, I read Professor Alexis Jay’s report in the systematic failure to protect young girls in Rotherham, with disbelief and anger.

It’s simply awful. But, for me, it struck a note of personal horror somewhere deep down.

You see, I’m a Pakistani woman born and raised in Scotland, as part of a Muslim family. And, at the age of 12, I relied on the help of police and local authorities to help me escape from honour abuse and the threat of forced marriage. As a result of my experiences, I now dedicate most of my spare time to raising awareness of these issues. I’m currently working to establish a free mental health service for those who have suffered similar abuses.

Victims are treated like criminals

Throughout the course of my work, I’ve come to understand a few things. If you are a rape victim, you can generally expect to be dismissed, disbelieved and made to relive your terrifying experiences in great detail in order to convince a courtroom that justice should be served on your attacker. Your behaviour and character will be dissected to deduce how irresponsible and, therefore culpable, you are.

And, after all that is over, you can expect little support in recovering from your ordeal and rebuilding your life. While some may believe that the handling of rape and sex abuse cases has become more effective in recent years, it’s now clear that this is simply not the case.

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Man may get life for teen forced marriage

Cape Town – Abducted and forced into marriage before being raped several times – this is what happened to a 14-year-old girl at the hands of a Philippi man.

On Monday morning – more than two years after the girl’s ordeal – Mvuleni Jezile, who was convicted for sexually assaulting the Eastern Cape teenager, is due to be sentenced in the Western Cape’s first case of ukuthwala: the traditional practice of kidnapping a young woman in an attempt to force marriage negotiations.

During earlier court proceedings, it emerged that the 30-year-old man had married the pupil in the Eastern Cape without her or her mother’s consent.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Eric Ntabazalila said the marriage had been arranged between the girl’s uncle, grandmother and her rapist’s family in 2011.

The court was told Jezile had tried to have sex with the girl, but she refused. He beat her with sticks then threw her into a taxi bound for the Western Cape.

IOL ca p7 Mvuleni Jezile done

Once there, he held her hostage at his home in Brown’s Farm where he raped her several times.

During his first court appearance in the Wynberg Regional Court in February 2012, Jezile pleaded not guilty before magistrate Delena Grewenstein.

But he was convicted in November, after he was found guilty on six counts including three cases of rape, human trafficking and assault.

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Honour and violence

Activist Aruna Papp says more needs to be done to prevent honour killings and honour-based violence in Canada. Papp was the keynote speaker at a workshop held over November 12 and 13 in Calgary to train police officers, social workers and others likely to be involved with the issue to recognize its victims and be effective when helping them.

The workshop, Honour-Based Violence — Training to Eradicate this Global Issue, was organized by the Alberta Community Crime Prevention Association (ACCPA), an organization focused on crime prevention strategies and bringing multiple stakeholder groups together to discuss criminal issues. Papp says research suggests the rate of honour-based violence is increasing globally. She also believes that though it is mainly practised and culturally supported in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa, it is “absolutely” occurring enough in Canada to merit more attention.

ACCPA president John Winterdyk agrees. Winterdyk has worked extensively in sub-Saharan Africa studying how beliefs about honour and punishment are applied there. “Just by the demographics of Canada we have so many people from other parts of the world that the probability [honour-based violence is occurring] is much higher than we care to acknowledge,” he says.


Neither Winterdyk nor Papp could provide statistics to back up claims of an increasing problem.

Papp was born in India and, after an arranged marriage, immigrated to Ontario in 1972. She has since founded three organizations to assist victims of honour crimes. She says the issue received increased media attention in Canada after the “honour-killing” murders of Aqsa Parvez, Amandeep Kaur Dhillon, Amandeep Atwal and four women in the Shafia family, yet few people here have a deep understanding of it. She believes this lack of understanding means authorities are not trained to help. “Social workers are very well equipped to do counselling, but the cultural aspect becomes a barrier when they don’t understand the ideology behind honour-based violence: What is it? What does it look like? Why is it perpetrated? How is it manifested? They need to understand all that before they can help,” Papp explains. “The way the counselling and intake is taught in universities, the model is set for white Anglo-Saxon middle class clients, so it does not apply to a whole lot of clients.

“It is an ideology about men controlling women. It manifests in different ways and different cultures and that’s what we talk about,” Papp says, adding that it is not the same as spousal abuse as it is typically understood in the West. Honour-based violence is often complicated by the inclusion of extended family or male family members in using force and violence to punish a woman for what they consider dishonourable behaviour in order to restore the family honour they believe her behaviour tarnished. That means police and social workers are faced with protecting her from a number of aggressors instead of just one.

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Honour-based violence campaigner honoured by Blackburn College

LEADING campaigner against honour based violence has been recognised by Blackburn College.

Saima Afzal MBE was given an Honorary Fellowship by the college which she hopes will help to inspire other women to follow in her footsteps. The 42-year-old Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire has come a long way since she escaped a violent forced marriage in her twenties.

She was awarded an MBE in 2010 for her Services to Policing and Community Relations. At the formal event at Blackburn College to receive her honour she said the building brought back positive memories for her. A former student, she studied both a Diploma in Public Administration and then a BA (Hons) degree in Criminology. Growing up, she said having local access to higher education was a ‘lifeline’ for her.

She said: “I am so proud as this recognition shows I am actually making a difference and people are noticing me. “This will present me with more opportunities to help those woman who need it and give them a hand which I never had. “Growing up, it was a struggle. I had a forced marriage and I had a child,” said Saima, who still lives in Blackburn. “I couldn’t travel too far afield to study culturally, and I also couldn’t afford to, and was lucky that Blackburn College helped me. I could work before and after college but I was always late for classes due to child minding. The tutors knew my circumstances though and they worked around me.”

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Court refuses declaration of non-recognition of forced marriage of 14 year old girl

Declaration barred by section 58(5) of Family Law Act 1986

Mr Justice Holman has dismissed an application, brought by a local authority in the course of care proceedings, for a declaration of non-recognition of the marriage of a British girl, then 14, conducted in Pakistan under circumstances of extreme duress.

In A Local Authority v X & Anor [2013] EWHC 3274 (Fam) the court heard that X, the girl, was born in England in 1997. Her parents had immigrated to England from Pakistan some 40 years earlier. In 2011, aged 14, X travelled with her father and brother to Pakistan where, under considerable duress involving the production of a gun and physical violence upon her, she underwent a ceremony of marriage to a 24 year old man. The marriage was consummated two weeks later and X became pregnant. She returned to England and the baby was born in the autumn of 2012. The local authority commenced care proceedings in relation to X and the baby.
Within the care proceedings the local authority, with the support of X through her Guardian, sought a declaration of non-recognition of the marriage in Pakistan.

The court found that X was domiciled in England at the time of the marriage and the validity of the marriage was therefore governed by the Marriage Act 1949. Pursuant to that Act which stipulates that a marriage between persons either of whom is under 16 shall be void, the marriage was found to be void.  The case of Pugh v Pugh [1951] P 482 establishing that the statutory provisions as to minimum age are extra-territorial in effect was approved.

Holman J said:

“On the facts as I have recounted them, there is no question but that X herself, who is now approaching the age of seventeen, could present a petition for nullity on the ground that her marriage is void on the ground that at the date of the marriage she was under the age of sixteen.”  However, Vanessa Meachin, counsel for X, said that it was too much to expect X, at any rate at her present age and stage in life, herself to take an active step that would be so defiant of her parents and family as herself to petition for a decree that the marriage that they forced her to enter into was void.


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Aruna Papp grew up amid honour-based violence in India. Today she’s a world-recognized champion for vulnerable girls and women everywhere.

Pin-drop silence. That was the atmosphere on a sleepy summer Sunday when Aruna Papp, a lay member of Greenbank (Ont.) United, took the pulpit.

Greenbank United describes itself as “a friendly, country church,” and the town is a go-to destination for butter tarts and country drives. It feels about as far away from the horrible reality of honour-based violence as you can get. But that was the topic of Aruna Papp’s sermon as she preached a hard message to the congregation that has embraced her.

Forty-nine years ago, as a young teenager growing up in India, she witnessed a beautiful girl in her community being burned alive outside her home. Papp’s young neighbour was killed by her brothers for refusing to marry a man twice her age, who was going to help the brothers with a business venture. Refusal was not an option.

It was the first honour killing Papp would experience. It would not be the last.

Honour-based violence is a topic she knows intimately. As a child in India, she herself was a victim of repeated honour-based violence, a story painfully and powerfully outlined in her 2012 autobiography, Unworthy Creature: A Punjabi Daughter’s Memoir of Honour, Shame and Love. Papp’s mother, father and grandmother physically and verbally abused her. Later, her husband did the same. “Being a girl, that was my fate. Everyone else was experiencing the same thing. I saw baby girls left on garbage heaps and girls set on fire,” she says. “In my context growing up in India, it seemed like the norm. I didn’t know there was an option.”

From that pain-filled beginning, Papp has transformed herself into an educator, activist and advocate on honour-based violence in Canada and around the world. Her journey includes an exodus from the Seventh Day Adventist Church in which she was raised, followed by years in the spiritual wilderness. She eventually found a new religious home in the welcoming sanctuary of Greenbank United.

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