Tahirih Justice Center’s Forced Marriage Initiative is proud to debut an interactive map that examines risks and resources for individuals from the U.S. facing forced marriages overseas.
The map is available at PreventForcedMarriage.org, the first and only U.S.-based website exclusively dedicated to providing lifesaving resources and information for forced marriage survivors and advocates across the United States.
The Forced Marriage Overseas Country Map is the product of an innovative pro bono research partnership between Tahirih and Mayer Brown LLP, a prestigious global legal services provider, and Caterpillar Inc., the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment.
“As members of the global community, we recognize forced marriage as a pernicious global problem that threatens the freedom, safety, health, and education of women and girls around the world. We are proud to partner with Tahirih Justice Center, a pioneer in the fight to end forced marriage in the U.S., to examine the risks and resources facing girls and women who reside in the U.S. but may be facing a forced marriage overseas,” said Marc Kadish, Director of Pro Bono Activities and Litigation Training at Mayer Brown LLP.
Forced marriage—defined as a marriage that takes place without the full and free consent of one or both parties—is a human rights violation that impacts communities around the world. It can happen to a person of any race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, or national origin, and it is a problem in the United States.
“Forced marriage in the United States takes many forms. Sometimes, people living in the United States are taken overseas to experience forced marriages. Individuals may be tricked or coerced into traveling overseas, or may go abroad to visit family, only to find themselves the target of a forced marriage,” said Heather Heiman, Forced Marriage Initiative Project Manager at Tahirih.
The Forced Marriage Overseas Country Map includes specific information on laws related to marriage, as well as an overview of both risks to and protections for women and girls in each country. Individuals from the U.S. that are facing or fleeing forced marriage abroad can find themselves in challenging and sometimes dangerous situations. It can be very difficult for victims to access help, escape, or return to the U.S. once overseas, especially if identity documents like passports are confiscated. Local law enforcement may be unwilling or unable to intervene in forced marriage situations, and there may be few resources in-country (such as shelters or women’s rights agencies) that are able to help.
Countries profiled in the Forced Marriage Overseas Country Map include:
- Palestinian Territories
- Saudi Arabia
- South Sudan
- United Kingdom
“This research is already having a lifesaving impact, helping Tahirih clients and others in the U.S. who are facing high-stakes forced marriage situations to find safety, dignity, and freedom. We are immensely grateful for Mayer Brown and Caterpillar’s leadership and dedication in shedding light on this urgent global problem,” Heiman said.
*Please note this list is not exhaustive of all the countries in the world where individuals from the U.S. may face forced marriage.
MEDIA CONTACT: Marlena Hartz, Communications Manager, 571-282-6193, [email protected]