With the upcoming school vacation the King Baudouin Foundation (KBS) is broaching the issue of forced marriages. The organization is turning directly to immigration youth with a brochure titled "Vacation time: marriage time?!"
Spokesperson Josse Abrahams says that within a few weeks many youth will return again to their land of origin with their families, particularly to Turkey and Morocco. Thousands will marry a partner who will then come to Belgium through family reunification. Most will happily not be forced marriages, says Abrahams, but many youth are under family pressure to get into a marriage which isn't really personal. It's often unexpected and is quickly concluded, in the vacation euphoria.
The brochure is intended to break the taboo and is directed at 15-18 year olds. It informs them of their rights and obligations, without stigmatizing or expressing value judgments. It must urge the youth to think and encourages them to decide on their own.
The KBS is turning to schools, teachers, social workers and associations to distribute this brochure as much as possible. There will also be a series of workshops in six experimental schools in Mechelen, Antwerp, Ghent, Schaarbeek, Liege and Charleroi.
Source: Het Belang Van Limburg (Dutch)
See also: Denmark: Brochures to teachers against forced marriages, Belgium: Forced marriages punishable offense, Germany: The honor culture, Norway: Somali circumcisers admit circumcising Norwegian girls