FALLS CHURCH, Va., Sept. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the Tahirih Justice Center (Tahirih) released the results of a groundbreaking national survey, which identified as many as 3,000 known and suspected cases of forced marriage in the United States, in 47 states, among immigrant communities from 56 different countries. The survey is the first of its kind conducted in the United States and was designed to understand the scope and nature of forced marriage in immigrant communities.
Key findings of Tahirih's survey include:
- 500 service providers, community advocates, educators, medical/mental health professionals, law enforcement officers, religious leaders, and others from 47 states reported as many as 3,000 known and suspected forced marriage cases that they have encountered in just the last 2 years.
- Some families are willing to go to great lengths to ensure that the marriage takes place and may send a young woman back to the family's country of origin until she submits, cut her off from financial support, withhold food and medical care, or limit a young woman's contact with those outside the family. Respondents also reported kidnapping, death threats, and even murder attempts.
- Immigrant communities engaging in forced marriage in the United States are from at least 56 different countries.
- Community-based service providers working on the frontlines are struggling with how to recognize and handle forced marriage situations.
- Only 10% of survey respondents have a working definition of forced marriage.
- Nearly 70% think there are forced marriage cases in their communities that are not being identified.
Despite recent media attention to cases of forced marriage and honor violence in immigrant communities in the United States, there is a regrettable lack of data in the United States about forced marriage, and there are no laws specifically designed to protect individuals from being forced into marriage. This is in stark contrast to the United Kingdom, which has a governmental "Forced Marriage Unit" at the ready to help victims and provide guidance and support to professionals on the frontlines, a national forced marriage hotline, and a specific forced marriage protection order.
For more information about Tahirih's Forced Marriage Initiative, or for the full survey report, please visit: http://www.tahirih.org/advocacy/policy-areas/forced-marriage-initiative/.
Contact: Layli Miller-Muro, Executive Director, (202) 246-1844, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Tahirih Justice Center