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Expert concerns over forced marriage

Identified cases of forced marriage in South Australia may be just the tip of the iceberg, a university legal expert says.

Flinders University criminology lecturer Marinella Marmo says between 2009 and 2019, 13 cases of forced marriage in SA were referred by Australian Federal Police to a support program.

But she says more were going undetected as social services, teachers, nurses, doctors and other frontline workers fail to recognise this type of “human trafficking”.

“In most of these cases, the alarm bell was raised by or via the victims’ school network,” she said.

“In general, forced marriage victims fail to be identified in rural and metropolitan South Australia because we lack a proper awareness-raising and education approach, distinct from family violence and child protection.”

Professor Marmo’s concerns come after calls in state parliament for an official investigation.

Labor MP Katrine Hildyard moved a motion for a joint parliamentary inquiry but failed to get government support.

Prof Marmo said if the government did not take clear action at a state level, more cases of forced marriage would go unidentified.

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