Ayla's Story

Ayla is a 17 year old high school student in Australia.

Ayla’s teacher notices that Ayla seems depressed and has taken a lot of time off school. Her teacher also observes that Ayla’s family seem to be very strict and controlling. Ayla always has someone with her outside school hours and the teacher has heard from Ayla’s classmates that she isn’t allowed to go out with friends without a family member going with her.

When the teacher asks Ayla if she is okay,

Ayla says that her parents took her to visit relatives. Her parents told Ayla that she would only be able to go back to school if she agreed to marry a man her parents had chosen for her, whom she had never met. Ayla married this man so that she could return to school. Ayla’s parents told her that when she turns 18, she will have to sign migration papers for him so that he could get a permanent visa and live with her in Australia.

Ayla tells her teacher that she feels like a slave,

and never wanted to marry him. Ayla says that she feels trapped and is scared about what might happen if she tries to leave her family. Ayla asks her teacher for help.

Ayla’s teacher contacts the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for help.

Although Ayla does not want her parents or ‘husband’ to be prosecuted, the AFP are able to help her access support, including safe accommodation, financial support, legal advice and counselling. As a result of this assistance, Ayla is able to work towards establishing the future she wants for herself.

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