Municipality's hotline saves 27 children from becoming child brides in Turkey’s southeast
GAZİANTEPSome 27 children were saved from becoming child brides via a “Child Brides Call Center” set up by the metropolitan municipality of the southeastern province of Gaziantep.
The center, which was set up in 2015 in order to prevent childhood marriages, serves 24 hours a day and helps children continue their education.
“They saw that most of the families [in question] were living in poverty. The education levels of these families were also low,” Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Fatma Şahin told daily Milliyet, adding that most of the girls were saved by notices made by their friends.
“Most of the women were illiterate or elementary school graduates. Most of the families going through economic struggles act with the logic of decreasing the number of people to feed in the house by marrying the girl off,” she said, adding that the ages of the saved girls ranged between 12 and 17.
Noting that there was a false sense of honor and conservatism in these families, Şahin said most of them lived in rural areas or villages.
“A false perception of honor and economic hardships are at the heart of their wish to marry their girls off at young ages,” she said.
“The families care about the state officials and they feel valuable when the officials visit them. They become persuaded not to marry their children more easily. Some families are scared by these visits and this fear makes it easier for them to give up on the marriage,” she said, while adding that the psychology of the saved girls is in bad condition.
“The mental state of the girls who were removed from school in order to get married was pretty bad. All of them are introverts and cannot express themselves freely. The lack of self-esteem is very high. Most of them didn’t form more than two sentences as they were also crying. They were saying that they wanted to go to school rather than get married,” Şahin added.