By country::Forced marriage


Marriage::forced    Title::forced    Marriage::women    Family::bride    Often::marry    Child::girls

By country


South Africa

{{#invoke:main|main}} In South Africa, ukuthwala is the practice of abducting young girls and forcing them into marriage, often with the consent of their parents.<ref>[1]{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[dead link] }}</ref> The practice occurs mainly in rural parts of South Africa, in particular the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.<ref name="gab">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> The girls who are involved in this practice are frequently under-aged, including some as young as eight.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> The practice received negative publicity, with media reporting in 2009 that more than 20 Eastern Cape girls are forced to drop out of school every month because of ukuthwala.<ref name=ba11>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>


Forced marriage is common in Niger. Niger has the highest prevalence of child marriage in the world;<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref><ref></ref> and also the highest total fertility rate.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> Girls who attempt to leave forced marriages are most often rejected by their families and are often forced to enter prostitution in order to survive.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> Due to the food crisis, girls are being sold into marriage.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>


Forced marriage is prevalent in Madagascar. Girls are married off by their families, and often led to believe that if they refuse the marriage they will be "cursed".<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> In some cases, the husband is much older than his bride, and when she becomes a widow, she is discriminated and excluded by society.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>


According to Human Rights Watch, Malawi has "widespread child and forced marriage" and half of the girls marry before 18.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> The practice of bride price, known also as lobolo, is common in Malawi, and plays a major role in forced marriage. Wife inheritance is also practiced in Malawi. After marriage, wives have very limited rights and freedoms; and general preparation of young girls for marriage consists in describing their role as that of being subordinated to the husband.<ref></ref>


Forced marriage in Mauritania takes three principal forms: forced marriage to a cousin (known as maslaha); forced marriage to a rich man for the purpose of financial gain; and forced polygamous marriage to an influential man.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>


Compensation marriage

Compensation marriage, known variously as vanni, swara and sang chatti, is the traditional practice of forced marriage of women and young girls in order to resolve tribal feuds in parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Although illegal in Pakistan, it is still widely practiced in Pakistan's Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.


Forced marriage is very common in Afghanistan, and sometimes women resort to suicide to escape these marriages.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> A report by Human Rights Watch found that about 95% of girls and 50% of adult women imprisoned in Afghanistan were in jail on charges of the "moral crimes" of "running away" from home or zina. Obtaining a divorce without the consent of the husband is nearly impossible in Afghanistan, and women attempting a de facto separation risk being imprisoned for "running away". While it is not socially acceptable for women and girls to leave home without permission, "running away" is not defined as a criminal offense in the Afghan Penal Code. However, in 2010 and 2011, the Afghan Supreme Court issued instructions to courts to charge women with "running away" as a crime. This makes it nearly impossible for women to escape forced marriages. The Human Rights Watch report stated that:<ref></ref>

"According to the UN, as of 2008, 70 to 80 percent of marriages in Afghanistan were forced, taking place without full and free consent or under duress. Another study found that 59 percent of women had experienced forced marriage."


Karma Nirvana, a charity set up by Jasvinder Sanghera who was disowned by her Sikh family aged 16 when she refused to marry a man in India, takes about 600 calls a month.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> The cultural preference for boys and the resulting adverse sex ratio has also caused a shortage of brides. This has fueled incidents of forced marriages.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref>


As in other parts of South Asia, girls in Nepal are often seen as an economic burden to the family, due to dowry. Parents often compel young girls to marry, because older and more educated men can demand a higher dowry.<ref></ref> In 2009, the Nepalese government decided to offer a cash incentive (50,000 Nepali rupees - $641) to men for marrying widowed women. Because widows often lose social status in Nepalese society, this policy was meant to 'solve' their problems. However, many widows and human rights groups protested these regulations, denouncing them as humiliating and as encouraging coerced marriages.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref>

Sri Lanka

A 2004 report in the journal Reproductive Health Matters found that forced marriage in Sri Lanka was taking place in the context of the armed conflict, where parents forced teenage girls into marriage in order to ensure that they do not lose their chastity (considered an increased risk due to the conflict) before marriage, which would compromise their chances of finding a husband.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>


United Kingdom

Forced Marriage Unit, UK

Forced marriages can be made because of family pride, the wishes of the parents, or social obligation. For example, according to Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood, many forced marriages in Britain within the British Pakistani community are aimed at providing British citizenship to a member of the family currently in Pakistan to whom the instigator of the forced marriage feels a sense of duty.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> In response to the problem of forced marriages among immigrants in the UK, the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 (applicable in England and Wales, and in Northern Ireland) was passed, which enables the victims of forced marriage to apply for court orders for their protection. Similar legislation was passed in Scotland: the Forced Marriage etc. (Protection and Jurisdiction) (Scotland) Act 2011<ref name=""/> gives courts the power to issue protection orders.

In June 2012 the British Government, under Prime Minister David Cameron, declared that forced marriage would become a criminal offence in the United Kingdom.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref> In November 2013 it was reported that a case was brought before the High Court in Birmingham by local authority officials, involving a then 14-year-old girl who was taken to Pakistan, forced to marry a man ten years her senior and two weeks later forced to consummate the marriage with threats, resulting in pregnancy; the court case ended with Mr Justice Holman saying he was powerless to make a "declaration of non-recognition" of the forced marriage, since he was prevented by law from granting a declaration that her marriage was "at its inception, void". Mr Justice Holman said that the girl, now 17, would have to initiate proceedings herself to have the marriage nullified.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref> British courts can also issue civil orders to prevent forced marriage, and since 2014 refusing to obey such an order is grounds for a prison sentence of up to five years.<ref name=""></ref>

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 makes forcing someone to marry (including abroad) a criminal offense.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> The law came into effect in June 2014 in England and Wales and in October 2014 in Scotland.<ref name=""/><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> In Northern Ireland, the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act (Northern Ireland) 2015<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> criminalizes forced marriage (section 16 - Offence of forced marriage).<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

In July 2014, the United Kingdom hosted its first global Girl Summit; the goal of the Summit was to increase efforts to end child marriage, early, and forced marriage and female genital mutilation within a generation.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

The first conviction for forced marriage occurred in June 2015, with the convicted being a man from Cardiff.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>


Although forced marriage in Europe is most often associated with the immigrant population, it is also present among some local populations, especially among the Roma communities in Eastern Europe.<ref></ref>

The UK Forced marriage consultation, published in 2011, found forcing someone to marry to be a distinct criminal offence in Austria, Belgium, Turkey, Denmark, Norway and Germany.<ref name=Force>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> In 2014 it became a distinct criminal offence in England and Wales.<ref name=""/>

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence defines and criminalizes forced marriage, as well as other forms of violence against women.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> The Convention came into force on 1 August 2014.<ref></ref>

In November 2014 UCL held an event, Forced Marriage: The Real Disgrace, where the award-winning documentary Honor Diaries was shown, and a panel including Jasvinder Sanghera CBE (Founder of Karma Nirvana), Seema Mahotra MP (Labour Shadow Minister for Women), and Dr Reefat Drabu (former Assistant General Secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain) discussed the concept of izzat (honour), recent changes in UK law, barriers to tackling forced marriage, and reasons to be hopeful of positive change.<ref name="Forced Marriage the Real Disgrace">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

The Americas


Forced marriage may be practised among some immigrant communities in Canada.<ref>Maryum Anis, Shalini Konanur, and Deepa Mattoo, "Who - If - When to Marry: The INcidence of Forced Marriage in Ontario"</ref> Until recently, forced marriage has not received very much attention in Canada. That lack of attention has protected the practice from legal intervention.<ref name = "Reasons"/> In 2015, Parliament enacted 2 new criminal offences to address the issue.<ref>Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act, SC 2015, c 29, ss 9, 10.</ref> Forcing a person to marry against their will is now a criminal offence under the Criminal Code,<ref name="">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> as is assisting or aiding a child marriage, where one of the participants is under age 16.<ref>Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46, s 293.2</ref> There has also been the long-standing offence of solemnizing an illegal marriage, which was also modified by the 2015 legislation.<ref>Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46, s 295.</ref>

In addition to these criminal offences, the Civil Marriage Act stipulates: Marriage requires the free and enlightened consent of two persons to be the spouse of each other, as well as setting 16 as the minimum age for marriage.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

United States

Estimates are that hundreds of Pakistani girls in New York have been flown out of the New York City area to Pakistan to undergo forced marriages; those who resist are threatened and coerced.<ref>Katz, Nancie. (November 24, 2007). "Parents force daughters to fly home to Pakistan for arranged marriages". The New York Daily News.</ref> The AHA Foundation has commissioned a study by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to research the incidence of forced marriage in New York City.<ref>"The AHA Foundation 2012 Annual Report", accessed 22 March 2013</ref> The results of the study were equivocal.<ref>Marcus, Anthony, Popy Begum, Alana Henninger, Laila Alsabahi, Engy Hanna, Lisa Stathas-Robbins, and Ric Curtis. 2014. “Is Forced Marriage A Problem in the United States: Preliminary Results from a Study of Intergenerational Conflict over Marital Choice Among College Students at the City University of New York from Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian Migrant Families”</ref> However, AHA has successfully referred numerous individuals seeking help in fleeing or avoiding a forced marriage with qualified service providers and law enforcement.<ref>[2] The AHA Foundation, accessed 22 March 2013</ref> According to the National Center for Victims of Crime Conference, there are "limited laws/policies directly addressing forced marriage", although more general non-specific laws may be used.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Page needed |date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[page needed] }} The organization Unchained at Last, the only organization of its kind in the United States, assists women in forced or arranged marriages with free legal services and other resources.<ref name="firstwivesworld1">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> It was founded by Fraidy Reiss.<ref name="firstwivesworld1"/>

Forced marriage sections
Intro  Historical context  Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery  Istanbul Convention  Causes of forced marriages  Consequences  Violence  Relation to dowry and bride price  Marriage by abduction  Forced marriage as a way of solving disputes  Widow inheritance  In armed conflict  Forced marriage by partner  Escaping a forced marriage  Sharia law  Shotgun wedding  By country  Statistics  See also  References  External links  

By country
PREVIOUS: Shotgun weddingNEXT: Statistics