The U.S. Department of State's highest priority overseas is the protection and welfare of U.S. citizens. The U.S. government considers the issue of forced marriage to be a violation of basic human rights and in the case of minors, a form of child abuse. Forced marriage is defined as one in which one or both parties have not consented to the marriage; it differs from arranged marriage. Often, victims of forced marriage are subjected to non-consensual sex, physical and emotional abuse, isolation, and threats of violence. International law and conventions also support an individual's right to self-determination, minimum marriage ages, and the rejection of abuse of women and honor-based violence.
Forced marriage is an under-reported problem in certain regions of the world. The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs has created an information sheet for those countries (listed below) that have reported cases where U.S. citizens have faced forced marriage. These flyers discuss the legalities of marriage, cultural context, and resources available to prevent forced marriage.
If you or someone you know is facing or has been a victim of forced marriage overseas, please contact the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747 (from overseas: 202-501-4444) or the Embassy/Consulate nearest you. Please refer to our Country Specific Information for local embassy and consulate locations and contact details.