Under German law and the German system of values, marriage is based on the free will of both spouses; it is thus an expression of the free development of the personality, which is protected by Article 2 (1) in conjunction with Article 1 of the Basic Law. V. m. Article 1 of the Basic Law.
In some patriarchal family structures, on the other hand, it is primarily girls and young women, but also young men, who are married off against their will to partners - mostly strangers. Forced marriages often take place abroad, e.g. during a vacation at home, but sometimes also in Germany.
Forced marriage is prohibited in almost all countries of the world. In Germany, there has been an independent criminal offense of "forced marriage" since July 1, 2011. The person who coerces another person to enter into a marriage is punished with a prison sentence of between 6 months and 5 years. The perpetrators of a forced marriage are usually the parents or other family members. The victim of a forced marriage is of course not liable to prosecution.
Special counseling and protection services for girls and women who are threatened by or affected by forced marriage are offered by the specialized counseling centers of jadwiGa under the auspices of the Ökumenische gGmbH "Stop dem Frauenhandel", Solwodi Bayern e.V. as well as IMMA e. V.
The anonymous shelter "Scheherazade hilft" for young women between the ages of 18 and 21 can be reached at the toll-free number 0800/41 51 616. Those affected can also get advice online at www.jadwiga-online.de and www.imma.de.
Since March 2013, there has been a nationwide help hotline for violence against women, which can be reached free of charge 24 hours a day at 08000 116 016.