Refugee crisis: Nine-month pregnant 14-year-old goes missing amid anger the Netherlands is allowing child brides from Syria to seek asylum

Save the Children reported an 'alarming increase' in the number of child marriages within Syrian refugee communities

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The Independent Online

A pregnant 14-year-old girl has gone missing from a Dutch asylum centre. 

She is thought to be a child bride and disappeared from Ter Apel asylum centre two months ago.

Police say Fatema Alkasem was nine months pregnant and may be in need of medical care.

The Netherlands currently faces a problem in providing asylum for girls who married in Syria but are below the Dutch age of consent, which some argue condones pedophilia.

As many as 20 girls between the ages of 13 and 15 have been given legal permission to join their older partners in Dutch asylum centres, regional news channel RTV-Noord reports.

The charity Save the Children has reported an "alarming increase" in the number of child marriages within Syrian refugee communities in Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon.

While the age of sexual consent in the Netherlands is 16, migration minister Klaas Dijkhoff told the BBC the country recognises marriages involving young teenagers, as long as they are officially registered in their country of origin.

The government in The Hague is seeking an amendment so that family reunification applications will only recognise marriages if both partners are over the age of 18.

"A 12-year-old girl with a 40-year-old-man - that is not a marriage, that is abuse", said politician Attje Kuiken, according to the BBC.

"We're talking about really young children, girls 12, 13 years old. I want to protect these children. The government should take them into foster care and protect them, because before the new law comes into force, they can still be subject to abuse."

The new rules will come into effect in December.