Report: More Than 1,000 Known Child Marriages in Germany

German authorities are reportedly “sounding the alarm” over a sharp rise in child marriages after noting that more and more girl are disappearing from school. Justice Minister Heiko Maas has announced “drastic” new measures to tackle the problem. The girls are usually married to older men, and the trend is being linked to the new wave of migrants who entered the country over the past 18 months. The state has logged over 1,000 child marriages, but reports that the number of unreported cases may dwarf this number. In the Welt am Sonntag newspaper, Mr. Maas said he would be setting up a new working group which will begin its work on September 5th. SPD parliamentary leader Thomas Oppermann said the protection of children is an absolute priority which must also apply to minors from a migrant background. “Forced marriages are, in Germany, punishable,” he said. “…that’s how it should be.” “No one, especially not a child should be forced into marriage.” The marriages, the report notes, are often arranged. Oppermann notes that child marriages often result in girls becoming pregnant at a young age and subsequently leaving school. “[Y]oung refugees must be informed of their rights in Germany,” he said. And officials