Forced marriage

Other Names:
Denial of right of choice in marriage
Marriage without consent
Imposition of marital choice by parents
Levirate marriages

Customs of forced marriage include: the paying of a bride-price; child marriage; concubinage; and abduction. Also included are arranged marriages where neither the man or the woman, or where just the woman, has no choice in the matter. In forced marriage it is usually the woman who is denied the freedom of choice.


Bride-price, child marriage and the inheritance of widows occur in traditional tribal society, mainly in Africa. Concubinage exists in Africa, but also in Asia and Arabia. Abduction, enticement and blackmail play an important part in the acquisition of concubines, apart from their being bought and sold. Abduction, the blackmail of parents, and forced marriage is a traditional pattern in Sicily. Arranged marriages still occur in Asia, where parental domination is strong. The French press carries regular reports of young girls and women taken out of school to be sent to their home countries as involuntary brides, particularly from North African communities in France.

Levirate marriage is the custom of compulsory marriage of a man to the widow of his childless brother. Here the first male offspring of the marriage becomes the heir of the deceased brother. The custom is particular to the Hebrew culture and some others.

Related Problems:
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Problem Type:
D: Detailed problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST