Young Roma Brides Sold in Northern Croatia

By 23 May 2018

ZAGREB, May 23, 2018 – Živi Zid MP Branimir Bunjac warned at the start of a parliamentary session on Wednesday that Roma girls in the northern Međimurje region were sold as young brides as early as the age of 15 and called on state institutions, ministries and members of parliament to join in a campaign to raise awareness of this problem.

"Parents of the Bajaši Roma in Međimurje sell girls as young brides as soon as they reach the age of 15 or earlier, even though such relationships are rarely legalised," Bunjac said.

The average price of a Roma bride is 15,000 kuna (2,000 euro), said Bunjac. A consequence of this is a large number of underage mothers, and many have their first child as early as the age of 12.

Every sold bride, notably those that have children, must discontinue their education, and some have three to four children by the time they are 20, which closes the vicious circle of poverty in that community, said Bunjac. That is why a growing number of Roma girls run away from home and seek help in foster families, said the MP.