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Many Girls from Serbia among Victims of Forced Marriages

Nezavisne novine, 10.11.2011 



BERLIN – According to the survey of the Federal Ministry for Family, Elderly, Women and Youth, among the girls forced into marriage in Germany, around 8 per cent were born in Serbia, Kosovo or Montenegro.

Almost all young women who have to marry a partner chosen by the family in Germany are of migrant origin. Around 23 per cent of them were born in Germany, 23 per cent in Turkey and 8 per cent in Serbia, Montenegro or Kosovo.

According to freshly published data, they are followed by girls born in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Morocco and Albania. The study “Forced Marriages in Germany” have been created based on a survey of more than one hundred shelters and counseling centers for the victims of forced marriages or those who are under immediate risk of forced marriage.

Among those forced into marriage, young men constitute around seven per cent.

The girls forced into marriage in Germany are young than 17 in 30 per cent of cases.

More than half of those who have asked for help in institutions and who could actually be comprised by the survey reported that they were victims of physical violence.

In around 30 per cent of cases, young women were forced to enter into an unwanted marriage with the threat of fire arms.

For the needs of the study, 3443 victims were interviewed in 830 counseling centers and shelters. In around 60 per cent cases they were under threat of forced marriage, while the rest of the girls were already married.

In 2010 Germany adopted a regulation envisaging “forced marriage” as “an independent criminal offence” and not a “punishable coercion”.

Legal specialists expressed their expectation on that occasion that the new law would have “an intimidating effect” and that “it will become clear to the families to which it refers that the German legal system does not tolerate parental regulations regarding the choice of a spouse”.

Media often report about the destinies of the girls from migrant families who were force into marriage by their parents either in Germany or the groom was chosen in their home country. However, there is no precise data on the number of forced marriages for the whole Germany.

According to the previous reports of the women’s rights organizations Terres des Femmes, which also participated in the creation of the Ministry for family and Women’s study,. there are 370 women forced into marriage in Berlin and around 200 in Hamburg and Baden Wittenberg each.

The Berlin-based organization for assistance to young migrant women “Papatya” provides direct counseling or assistance to around 60 girls every year who are under risk of being forced into marriage or are already married; another 400 girls contact them via e-mail or telephone with the same problem.

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