Home > Press Articles > Over 100 17-year-old Lebanese girls brought to Australia on marriage visa

Over 100 17-year-old Lebanese girls brought to Australia on marriage visa

The Daily Star 9/11/2011

BEIRUT: More than a hundred 17-year-old Lebanese girls have been flown to Australia to get married on a government visa program over the past five years, Australia’s Herald Sun reported.

The girls were sponsored by men aged between 19 and 37 who arrived on Prospective Spouse visas, which stipulate that they must marry within 9 months of their arrival, the newspaper reported Wednesday,

Child safety campaigners have raised concerns over the scheme, under which hundreds of girls have arrived from countries around the world, while Australia’s political opposition has questioned whether it is a visa scam.

One Lebanese girl arrived on such a visa to discover the man who had sponsored her was a violent alcoholic, whose previous wife and three children lived in a house adjoining his own.

She later successfully sought a protection visa from Australia, after her family threatened to kill her.

“She will be slaughter[ed] and killed,” the girl’s family said in a letter, according to the newspaper.

The Australian Childhood Foundation’s Joe Tucci told the newspaper the figures were shocking and called for an inquiry.

“A thorough audit needs to be done to ensure these children are safe. Is this a program the Australian community really supports? This program seems to enable men to groom children and place them in a very vulnerable position,” he said.



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