Mothers see no other option than to marry off their daughters.
I’ve been hearing more and more about child marriage lately. Due to the difficult conditions in large refugee camps in Jordan or Turkey, this is becoming increasingly common there. The war in Syria and living conditions there have led many Syrian families to offer their daughters to wealthy men through a so-called “marriage”, most of whom are already married and older. Parents give away their daughters to save them from starvation. They receive a dowry in exchange for their daughter. The main reason for the increase in child marriages is the absence of the breadwinner in the family, which is often no longer visible due to an arrest or death. As a result, mothers see no option but to marry off their daughters to continue feeding their family’s mouths.
In addition, the girls in question often have poor prospects for the future, because they did not go to school due to the dangerous circumstances. All family members live in a tent, so the marriage applicant makes promises of roses, as we call it in Arabic. Rose promises about money, clothes and a decent life. The bride will live in a house away from the poverty of the camp. In the Netherlands, a lot of attention is paid to underage asylum seekers. They immediately go to school and learn the language quickly. Development is also being stimulated in other areas, such as music and sports. This provides relief in the burden of the parents; they know that their child will end up well. The Netherlands recognizes that shelter should not only consist of shelter and food. Underage asylum seekers are not a commodity here. I am so happy that these young people made it to the Netherlands. A sad fate follows for the girls who were left in refugee camps.