German teachers are to get guidelines on handling the issue of forced marriages with their pupils, the government said Friday following a spate cases in recent months. “Forced marriage is an infringement of human rights,” Maria Böhmer, the government’s commissioner for immigration and integration, said. “Current mechanisms for helping young men and women threatened by forced marriage often come too late or not at all. Schools can play an important role here,” she said.
The guidelines aim to give schools and teachers concrete tips for picking up on early warning signs if a student is being pushed into a forced marriage, and on talking to parents and alerting child protection services.
With many girls forced into marrying someone chosen by their families too scared to come forward, figures are hard to come by. But support groups estimate that more than 1,000 forced unions happen every year in Germany.