Girls Still Being Flown Out of Sweden for Forced Marriages and FGM

Girls Still Being Flown Out of Sweden for Forced Marriages and FGM

According to an activist group that deals with honour violence and oppression, young girls continue to be flown out of Sweden for forced marriages and female genital mutilation (FGM) despite bans.

Sabina Landstedt, a member of the activist group Never Forget Pela and Fadime (GAPF), said that her group has received almost daily calls about abducted girls, while a law introduced last July to prevent FGM and forced marriages overseas has been used only 28 times to stop girls being taken overseas.

“Our view is that these girls are being brought out of the country on an ongoing basis, with the knowledge of the authorities, unfortunately,” Landstedt told Swedish broadcaster SVT.

Sara Bäckström, an expert at the National Competence Team Against Honour Violence and Oppression, stated that in 2019 at least 170 children were taken from Sweden, adding that the true figure could have been far greater.

Bäckström said that the law could be used far more in the coming years as more professionals and members of the public become more aware of the issue: “If more people know that there is a possibility of an exit ban, more people can also raise the alarm when you see that a child is exposed,” she said.

“28 girls who have been granted an exit ban are more than zero, as there was the year before, so in that sense, it is a success,” she suggested.

According to Swedish police statistics released earlier this year, there were nearly 1,000 reports of honour culture-related crimes in Sweden in 2020. The figures marked the first full year in which honour culture crime was recorded by police after being introduced in autumn 2019.

In 2017, a report claimed that at least 250,000 young people in Sweden lived under the shadow of honour culture, which dictates who they are able to speak with, who they must marry, and how they behave.