Think long and hard about travelling abroad

Many girls look forward to the holidays and to again seeing their relations who live abroad. However, if the holidays suddenly come to an end and the parents return to Germany without them, the fun is over. Once the girls live with their relations in a village or they are supposed to marry their cousin, things can get very serious.

  • You are not on holiday yet.
  • You don’t know what to do.
  • You are afraid that once the holidays are over you won’t be allowed to return – but you hope that somehow things will work out alright.
  • You do not want to hurt your family.
  • Running away seems too big a step for you.
If you have to stay in a foreign country against your will, life as you know it is over, especially if you also have to get married! Act BEFORE you travel abroad!

Once you are abroad, it is difficult to return.

Don’t risk anything and take your fears seriously!

This will increase your risk:

  • Your family thinks that you are getting less and less obedient.
  • Your family has found out that you have a boyfriend.
  • Your family plans to live in their country of origin again.
  • Your family hasn’t booked a return flight.
  • Your residency permit has expired.
  • You have left school and are not doing any vocational training.
  • You are still a minor and your parents have custody.
  • You do not have an European passport.
  • You are regarded as a national in your parents’ country of origin, so foreign law applies to you.
  • You have many relations abroad who you could live with.
  • Your family wants you to marry a relation/an acquaintance.
  • You family does not want you to be independent: you should become a housewife and have children.
  • Your family places great emphasis on observing family traditions.

In these cases you should not delay:

  • The departure is very urgent. Relatives abroad are ill, are on their deathbed or urgently need your support.
  • Your family promises that you will be allowed to return. There is a return ticket and they swear on the Koran that you will not have to stay abroad.
Do you recognise yourself and your family? Do you think the risk is great? Then make sure that you stay in Germany. A return ticket is no guarantee of a certain return!

How you can prevent travelling abroad

  • Say no! Tell you family that you do not want to go abroad with them. This won’t be easy, but don’t forget what is at stake!
  • If you do not dare to turn openly against your family, make up a reason why you cannot travel with them: you might have to do an internship, for example, or you might fall sick or you might need urgent medical attention.
  • Sometimes nothing works and your family don’t take you seriously. Then you have to think about whether you would like to leave your family and run away. You should know that a separation needn’t last forever. When you go to a girls’ or women’s shelter, you will not have to leave the country, that is for sure. You will buy time and be able to think about things. From this safe location you can contact your family and figure out what should happen next.
  • Even at the very last minute, at the airport, you can call the police or tell the security staff at the border that you are being forced to leave against your will. The police there can protect you and take you to a shelter.

Your last chance if you decide to travel

If – in spite of the risk – you decide to travel abroad with your family, take emergency precautions BEFORE you leave!

1. Speak with someone you trust

Somebody should know that you are afraid. The best thing is to speak with a teacher or social worker at your school, with your trainer at work or with a youth welfare officer and tell them about your fears. If there are no adults that you can trust, please confide in a friend at least! Do not just chose a family member or a person who your family knows because they might be put under pressure if something serious happens.

The person you trust should know this:
  • when your family plans to return from the holiday
  • your address abroad
  • how to reach you, f.ex., your mobile number and/or your email address
  • a code word that you have agreed on. So you can tell her or him that your fears have come true without anyone else knowing
  • Before you leave, give him or her your notes (see point 2) and copies of your papers (see point 3)
Freundinen die sich umarmen

2. Note important information

  • What is your name? When were you born?
  • What is your mobile number and/or your email address?
  • Where are you travelling and when? What is the date you plan to return?
  • Who will you live with? (Names and address)
Also write down what you are afraid of:
  • What are you afraid of?
  • Why do you think that you will be forced into marriage or be left behind once you are abroad?
  • What has happened or what do you think will happen?
  • What have you seen or heard that has alarmed you?

3. Copy and save your documents

Falls dir im Ausland deine Dokumente weggenommen werden, können Kopien von großem Nutzen sein. Behalte diese Ersatz-Dokumente heimlich bei dir und hinterlasse sie auch bei deiner Vertrauensperson.

If your papers are taken from you when you are abroad, copies can be very useful. Hide these copies and leave a second set with a person you trust. Copy, scan or take a photo of your passport, your residence permit (if this applies to you) and your flight ticket.
Save your documents online. Many providers offer free online storage (f.ex., Microsoft’s OneDrive, Google’s GoogleDrive, Apple’s iCloud or Dropbox) or save your documents on a USB-stick and hide it well.

4. Leave a Power of Attorney and an Affadavit

Fill out here the downloadable forms and leave them with a person you trust in case they are needed.

If you are held abroad, a signed power of attorney can be useful for a lawyer. With this she can represent you and possibly institute legal steps for you. Form “Power of Attorney”

If it come to a court case, an affadavit will serve instead of a personal statement from you. Therefore, write down as exactly as possible what your situation is and what you fear. Form” Affadavit”

5. Buy a prepaid mobile and take money with you

It can save your life if you can phone someone.

Get an extra mobile phone (without a SIM lock) so you can phone from abroad and hide it in case your family takes away your mobile.
If you have money, you can pay for a taxi, a bus or at an Internet café.

6. Write down the address of your Embassy

If you have an European passport, your Embassy is responsible for you. It can also be helpful if you have or had a valid residence permit for your country.

Find out which Embassy is closest to where you will be abroad. Write down the address, opening hours, phone number and email address. Do some research online and find out the shortest way to get there.

Never go to the embassy spontaneously. The embassy will always need time to process your case and to possibly furnish substitute documents. Contact them first by phone or email.

7. Get Advice

If you have further questions or are still uncertain what you should do now, you can make contact with us at any time and get advice.

Make contact now!

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