For professionals

For professionals

From May 2013 until April 2016, PAPATYA has been running a Coordination Centre against Abductions and Forced Marriages funded by Aktion Mensch: verschleppung@papatya.org

In December 2015, the coordination centre published a detailed informational brochure. You will find information for professionals on the most important aspects of abduction scenarios and an evaluation of what we have learned in the two years the coordination centre has been in operation: Booklet

This centre has grown out of our experience with the secret crisis shelter Papatya and the online counselling service SIBEL where we offer protection and assistance to girls and young women with a migrant background. For almost thirty years, our team of Turkish, Kurdish and German social pedagogues and psychologists have helped girls and young women who have experienced “honour”- based violence, have been forced into marriage and /or been abducted to their parents‘ country of origin. Our crisis shelter Papatya has been a safe haven for over 1,800 girls and young women. Every year, more than 600 victims of violence receive counselling via telephone or through our online service SIBEL.

Many of the girls and young women who turn to us are afraid that they will be taken to their parents‘ country of origin against their will or that they will be left there if they resist their family’s wedding plans or if it is found out that they have been seeing a boy in secret. Once they are in Turkey, in Iraq, the Lebanon or in another country, usually without their passport or mobile phone, they are helpless and will find it almost impossible to resist marrying a man they don’t love. In a situation like this, help is hard to find. So it is all the more important to prevent an abduction to the parents‘ home country from taking place at all. The girls affected are usually adolescents of a migrant background, almost all are between 14 and 21 years of age and they hold a German or a foreign passport.

The coordination centre against abduction and forced marriage is the first central contact which offers assistance nationwide.

The coordination centre’s brief:

  • Prevention – The coordination centre offers seminars and events to raise consciousness about the reality of abductions. It offers girls and young women who fear being abducted specialised counselling to evaluate their risk and to prevent them from leaving the country. Our information material and website make the public and potential victims aware of the reality of abductions taking place.
  • Assistance and coordination of assistance after an abduction – If an abduction has taken place, the coordination centre offers specialised advice to explore whether repatriation is possible. We work closely with the authorities, lawyers and organisations in Germany, Europe and the countries of origin of the abducted girls and young women, and profit from our long-standing contacts in the regions. Girls and young women who are affected can contact us via email, at any place and any time of day, via our online counselling service SIBEL. Through SIBEL we have already managed in some cases to find a way back to Germany. Friends, teachers and anybody willing to help are also welcome to contact us for advice.
  • Assistance after repatriation – As we are closely connected to the crisis shelter Papatya, the coordination centre has years of experience with the psychological plight of abductees and the risks they face after returning to Germany. The coordination offers assistance finding appropriate coping strategies and advice on how to become anonymous, how to find accommodation and protection. It will conduct a risk analysis and cooperate, if advisable, with the police.
  • Extending assistance – Abductions so far have been neither systematically reported nor documented: we even lack a consistent definition of what constitutes an abduction. We know very little about the actual number of abductions taking place or how they happen, apart from information gleaned from some isolated cases, but we estimate that there is significant underreporting. The coordination centre is the first to register cases of abduction for the purposes of forced marriage and to raise awareness about the reality of abduction. It also explores the legal options available in order to increase the kind of assistance that can be rendered once an abduction has taken place.