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Asylum seekers as young as 11 come to Norway married

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Children play in the snow at an asylum centre in Kirkenes. Photo: Torstein Bøe / NTB scanpix
11:04 CET+01:00
At least 61 minors were married when they sought asylum in Norway last year, figures from the Norwegian authorities show. The youngest was an eleven year old girl.
Of the 61 married minors who sought asylum in Norway in 2015, at least ten were under the country's sexual age of consent of 16, broadcaster NRK reported based on figures from the Norwegian Immigration Directorate (UDI) and the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufdir). 
 
At least ten of the girls were under the age of 16, while 49 girls and two boys who are married were 16 or 17 when they arrived in Norway. At least two of the girls under the age of 18 were expecting their second child. 
 
The youngest married asylum seeker was just 11 years old when she arrived in Norway. 
 
Most of the married minors came from Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq. 
 
“We are looking very seriously at children under 18 who are in danger of being subjected to sexual abuse, violence and forced actions. We are committed to helping these children and to preventing forced situations. These could be criminal cases,” Bufdir director Mari Trommald told NRK. 
 
A 14-year-old pregnant girl crossed the Storskog border station in November with her 23-year-old husband and their 18-month-old child. Today, the two live separately and the 23-year-old is under police investigation. 
 
Trommald said that each case must be assessed individually to determine whether the married couples should live separately. 
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“The age of sexual consent in Norway is 16 and that will often guide how one views these matters. However, other problematic situations like violence and coercion will also be included in the assessments,” she said. 
 
 

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