After a Year in Force, Sweden’s Anti-Child Marriage Law Sees Zero Charges

A young actress plays the role of Giorgia, 10, forced to marry Paolo, 47, during a happening organised by Amnesty International to denounce child marriage, on October 27, 2016 in Rome. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP) (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images)
GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images

Despite being in force for over a year, the Swedish laws against child marriages have yet to see anyone charged for marrying a minor so far.

Sweden passed legislation that greatly tightened the existing laws against child marriage in July of last year, with those who engage in marriage with a minor facing a possible sentence of up to four years in prison — at least in theory.

However, despite 58 reports of child marriage in Sweden during the last year to police, none of the reports has led to an indictment in any of the cases, Sveriges Radio reports.

Prosecutor Jessica Wenna, who specialises in honour-related crimes, commented on the lack of charges, saying: “I had hoped that we would have had a conviction by now,” adding that “It can sometimes be difficult to prove whether a marriage has been entered into or not.”

One of the main reasons charges have yet to be filed in any of the 58 reports, ten of which are said to be still undergoing investigation, is that many of the marriages are simply not documented.

The lack of prosecutions in child marriage cases comes just months after it was revealed that Sweden had seen zero prosecutions under its strengthened terrorism law a year after it was passed.

Per Lindqvist, chief prosecutor at the National Unit for Security Cases, explained in March that the cases were simply too difficult to prove.

“The way in which the rules have been designed makes it quite difficult to prove this crime. A sign of this, of course, is that we have still not brought any charges so far since the law was created, nor have we requested any person to be placed in custody under this new legislation,” he admitted.

In the United Kingdom, laws against female genital mutilation (FGM) were on the books for 34 years before the first conviction took place in 2019, when a Ugandan-origin woman was given an 11-year sentence.

Prior to the conviction, the country had seen tens of thousands of reported cases with no successful prosecutions.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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