Egypt’s National Council for Childhood and Motherhood child helpline 16000, has led to the rescue of three girls from abuse in the city of Assiut, some 350km south of Cairo. A call placed through the helpline reported that a six-year-old whose parents are spending time in prison was being forced by her aunt to beg in the streets.
Azza al-Ashmawi, Secretary-General of the NCCM, says that the report was directly verified and reported to the police who rescued the girl. The public prosecutor issued an order that the girl should be placed in a State-run home for girls, together with her two sisters, aged nine and 12, who were also forced into begging by the aunt. The aunt was arrested and charged with child-trafficking; a charge that carries a penalty of life imprisonment and a fine between EGP100,000 and EGP500,000.
Again through the hotline 16000, the NCCM was able to prevent an attempt to marry off a 16-year-old girl in San al-Hagar in Sharqiya, east of the Nile Delta. Once the incident reported was verified, the relevant local authorities were notified and the marriage plans stopped. The parents of the girl signed a pledge they would not let her marry before the legal age of 18.
Dr Ashmawi stressed that child marriage is a violation of the rights of girls and women, leading them to abruptly end their education by dropping out of school, and increasingly exposing them to domestic violence and health problems on account of early childbearing and delivery. In short, Dr Ashmawi said, child marriage deprives women of chances of a better life.
The NCCM regularly works to prevent underage marriages. Watani reported on one case in August 2019:
1 March 2020