ZAGREB, May 24, 2018 – The Međimurje County police said on Wednesday that they did not have information on the sale of Roma child brides in that northern county.
“If members of the public have such information, we call on them to contact us or the local prosecutorial authorities, after which the necessary steps will be taken,” county police department spokesman Nenad Risek said when asked by Hina to comment on claims by Živi Zid member of parliament Branimir Bunjac that Roma girls in Međimurje region were sold into marriage as early as the age of 15.
Bunjac called on state institutions, ministries and members of parliament to join in a campaign to raise awareness of this problem. “Parents of the Bajaši Roma in Međimurje sell girls as young brides as soon as they reach the age of 15 or earlier, even though such relationships are rarely legalised,” Bunjac said during a parliamentary debate.
The average price of a Roma bride is 15,000 kuna (2,000 euro), said Bunjac. A consequence of this is a large number of underage mothers, and many have their first child as early as the age of 12.
The Roma minority MP Veljko Kajtazi was not available for comment.