Forced Marriage Policy
A U.S. Problem
If you are facing or fleeing a forced marriage, or know someone who is, please visit preventforcedmarriage.org to get help.
Everyone has the right to choose whether, when, and whom to marry. But across the United States, thousands of individuals may face forced marriages each year, with serious consequences. Forced marriage victims may suffer severe and lifelong harm, including physical and mental health issues, barriers to education, and domestic violence and rape, yet service providers, government agencies, and community advocates lack the training and tools to effectively identify and advocate for them. Current laws are also inadequate to address the unique challenges associated with forced marriage, and the United States lags behind other nations in responding to this human rights violation within our borders.
Children are especially vulnerable to forced marriage and the data is clear: Child marriage is a problem right here in the United States. Learn more about what we are doing to address the issue of child marriage.
Our ResponseTahirih launched its Forced Marriage Initiative in 2011 in response to the alarming results of our national survey, which documented as many as 3,000 cases of forced marriage in the United States over a two-year period.
Recognizing the need to mobilize a national response to forced marriage, Tahirih formed the National Network to End Forced Marriage, which includes nearly 400 members, and the National Forced Marriage Working Group, made up of about 40 organizations with expertise and energy to engage deeply on the problem.
Together, we aim to stop forced marriages and to put in place better protections and supports for survivors. Tahirih’s policy work on forced marriage is informed by its experience serving as a national resource to those facing or fleeing forced marriages and as a national technical assistance provider for other professionals on the front lines.
A Call to Action
Tahirih — in collaboration with advocates, survivors, and impacted communities — advocates for a national action plan to connect agencies at the federal and state level, outline gaps and needs, and drive and measure progress towards specific goals. Tahirih’s policy priorities above were developed in extensive consultation with members of the National Network to End Forced Marriage and the National Forced Marriage Working Group as well as other experts. They reflect Tahirih’s commitment to a comprehensive policy platform to address forced marriage in the United States, rather than a single, narrow approach. Together, these proposals have tremendous potential to ramp up readiness and exponentially expand options so that U.S. victims of forced marriage can access lifesaving protection and support. Read a summary of our policy proposals here.
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