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Abduction problem in ethnic-minority areas

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, May 3
A 17-year-old girl was abducted for the purpose of marriage from the school area in the village of Takala in the Marneuli municipality last week.

A representative of the Public Defender personally met with the girl and her family members. The girl denied violence both in a conversation with the Public Defender's representative and in a testimony given to the law enforcement agencies.

“It is noteworthy that it took a day and a half for the police to establish the whereabouts of the girl. The Public Defender requested information about the measures taken by the police,” Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili said.

Despite the fact that the girl denies any violence, the Public Defender said he was “concerned” about the incident.

“In general, early marriage, especially abductions, will have an impact on a child’s healthy development and their rights to live in a free environment and receive an education,” Nanuashvili said.

Many girls during the 1990s were abducted for the purpose of marriage.

In many cases the girls saw their future husbands for the first time only after the abduction.

Also, most of the girls were forced to stay with a man they didn’t love, as the public’s attitude towards girls who came home after the abduction was negative, and men did not marry a girl they believed was not a virgin.

The abducted girls’ age mainly ranged between 14-20, as a girl more than 25 was perceived as being “too old”.

It is thanks to the United National Movement authorities setting high fines and even prison sentences that abduction is no longer a widespread problem in Georgia.

However, in some areas with ethnic minorities and in some provinces, abduction still remains a problem.

Apart from maintaining the strong punishments and imprisonment for such actions, the government and relevant NGOs must actively work with girls in the problematic regions in order to raise their awareness of the problems of early marriages.

An active campaign will enable the women to oppose this negative cultural inheritance by themselves first of all.