Pašalić: Child marriages pave the way for human trafficking
The Protector of Citizens, Zoran Pašalić, once again pointed out today the harmfulness of child marriages because they cancel many of the children’s rights, above all, the right to a carefree childhood, education and health, and emphasized that such marriages often pose a danger of children becoming victims of human trafficking, and they sometimes even have a tragic outcome.
Pašalić reminded of the case of a girl from Belgrade who died as a result of several months of severe physical violence that she experienced from the parents of her underage extramarital partner upon arriving at their house in Smederevska Palanka, and in connection with which the institution of the Protector of Citizens launched an own-initiative control investigation into the legality and regularity of work of the competent authorities.
"The most worrying thing is that the parents of both children did not object to the conclusion of this extramarital union of the two minors. That is why it is necessary to constantly educate both children and families, especially in informal settlements in Serbia, about the harmful effects of child marriages on the life, health and future of the child. I emphasize again that children must be protected against any abuse, and child marriage and child cohabitation must not be anyone's tradition", said Pašalić.
In the control investigation, the Protector of Citizens determined that the minor was not on the records of the CSW Smederevska Palanka, nor was she reported to the local police until 30th December 2021, when she died, and her father-in-law and mother-in-law were arrested for physical violence and abuse that resulted in death.
The Protector of Citizens established that the girl is from Belgrade and that she started an extramarital union with a minor from Smederevska Palanka, whose parents, after arriving at their house in this city, severely physically abused her for eight months, which ultimately led to her death.
The family of her minor extramarital partner is on the records of the CSW Smederevska Palanka and has seven children, four of whom were placed in foster families after the arrest of their parents and appointed temporary guardians, and three were placed with their grandfather, where they are still.
The Deputy Protector of Citizens for Children's Rights, Jelena Stojanović, reminded that according to the new law, the Protector of Citizens became a special body that takes care of the protection and promotion of children's rights and which performs the duties of an independent rapporteur in the field of human trafficking, whose scope of work includes the issue of child marriages that are very often linked to trafficking in human beings.