Lalani and her dream to study
Lalani is a 16 year old girl who was attending high school in Melbourne. Her parents took her to their country of origin for a holiday. When they arrived Lalani discovered that preparations for her marriage were well under way. She didn’t want the wedding to take place but felt she had no choice but to comply. Lalani’s parents returned to Australia taking her passport with them.
Lalani’s school friends in Australia had participated in education programmes on their legal rights and current legislation regarding forced marriages. Through facebook, they alerted her to the fact that forced marriage is a slavery-like practice and is illegal in Australia. They told her of a website that could assist her. Lalani was able to receive support through the website. She was assisted to obtain new Australian travel documents and an airline ticket back to Australia.
Lalani did not return to live with her family. She told her NGO caseworker that she wanted to reconnect with some family members and was given mediation assistance to do so. Lalani was able to continue working towards her dream of graduating from university.
In many countries there is a tradition of arranged and often forced marriages. Among these are Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Morocco, Iraq….
Sent by: Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH)
Congregazione per gli Istituti di Vita Consacrata e le Società di Vita Apostolica
Sezione Migranti & Rifugiati
Dicastero per il Servizio dello Sviluppo Umano Integrale
Pontificia Accademia delle Scienze
Unione Mondiale delle Unioni Femminili Cattoliche
Anti-Trafficking Working Group
Jesuit Refugee Service