Hpapun District Incident Report: Torture, forced child marriage and multiple instances of child rape in Bu Tho Township, May to October 2019

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In mid-May 2019, a 17-year-old girl was forced by her adoptive mother to marry a 48-year-old man against her will in H--- village, G--- village tract, Bu Tho Township. Beforehand, the victim was tortured by her adoptive mother to coerce her into accepting to marry him. Between May and October 2019, the girl faced multiple instances of rape and fled several times to escape from sexual violence, but was always forced to come back and remarry her husband. On September 16th 2019, the village authorities did not approve her request to divorce and gave her three months to reconsider. Acting on witchcraft allegations, the KNPF arrested the husband on October 31st 2019, after which they came to know about the forced marriage and sexual violence cases. Their investigation led to the arrest of the adoptive mother on December 12th 2019, but she was ultimately sentenced to a fine and released on January 31st 2020. Due to the traumatic events she experienced, the victim is now suffering from mental health issues. However, nothing has been done to ensure that she can access psychological counselling services.