On Tuesday, authorities arrested an Egyptian man after forcing his 13-year-old daughter into two separate marriages.

Investigations conducted by the Attorney General's office revealed the shocking details of how he forced his daughter, Fatima, into the first marriage. Apparently, he used a customary contract (zawaj orfi) — which is considered unofficial in Egypt — to do so. 

When the so-called union ended in divorce, the man married his daughter off for the second time. She ultimately got pregnant. During his interrogation the defendant claimed that he just wanted to "protect his daughter," adding that though her marriages were announced publicly, they would've only become official when she turned 18. 

The father and both men who married the teenage victim were taken into police custody. They all face legal consequences in the case.

In his statement on the matter, the director of the General Protection Unit for Children in the province of Al-Sharqiya, revealed the alarming rate at which child marriages are reported in the country. 

According to public records, the unit "received 170 reports during the first half of 2019 on family violence, rape, and sheltering homeless children, and 30 of these reports constituted early child marriages."

Whenever a case of child marriage is reported to the unit, a delegation is sent to attempt to persuade the family against it. Those who refuse to comply with authorities are referred to the country's public prosecution. 

Egypt has been trying to curb the rates of child marriage

The country has long been fighting against child brides, a widespread phenomenon in the country's rural areas. 

The 2008 version of Egypt's Child Act Law sets the legal marital age in the country at 18. "The marriage contract shall not be registered for those who did not reach 18 years of age," it states. Anyone who violates this legislation can face prison time of at least two years and a fine of up to 50,000 Egyptian Pounds ($3,010). 

In 2017, the country's Minister of Health and Population, Ahmed Emad Al Deen, announced that the National Population Council was finalizing a legislation to criminalize child marriage.

In recent months, local authorities have been immediately acting on reports related to child marriages in a bid to stop them from taking place. Many of the country's activists have also been trying to raise awareness on the issue both online and off.