A nine-year-old girl from Sydney has been sent to the Middle East to be married off as a child bride believe Australian government officials investigating the case.
The girl's mother informed the Immigrant Women's Health Service that the nine-year-old had been flown to a Middle Eastern country on Monday, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
While the mother did not mention any specifics about wedding plans, the chief executive of the Women's Health Service feared that the girl will be married off.
"In cases like this, many girls disappear from the radar and we don't know anything about them, and then we are surprised with them coming back married or already pregnant," Dr Eman Sharobeem chief executive of the health service told SMH.
Sharobeem revealed that the girl had told them days before that she was travelling abroad and "not coming back".
Even as the workers were trying to get the girl to go to school, she reportedly told them, "I'm going to go to my country and I'm going to stay there, I'm not going to come back to school. I hate school... my parents told me it's better to go there and stay there and I'm going to be happier there".
On Monday, when health workers visited the girl's house, she had already gone overseas.
Meanwhile, Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan said that the Australian government had launched an 'arranged marriage safety plan' to combat forced marriages and slavery.
Australia is facing a burgeoning problem of human trafficking and the police are reportedly dealing with 20 cases of forced marriages of minors currently.