Forced marriage scandal:
Rise in girls as young as 13 groomed to marry, charity says
SCORES of British teenagers will not return to school next week because they have been forced into child marriages abroad, according to a charity.
By LATIFA YEDROUDJ
PUBLISHED: 08:00, Mon, Aug 27, 2018 | UPDATED: 08:59, Mon, Aug 27, 2018
Young girls will have spent their summer break being coerced into relationships that would be illegal in the UK in a shocking “hidden crime” that has sharply risen over the last few years, Karm Nirvana said.
The British charity said girls have been forced into marriage while visiting their home countries.
A spokeswoman for Karma Nirvana told Express.co.uk: “We do see a rise in June and July from young people in relation to the summer months.
“We have calls from social services and schools that young girls do not return back after the summer, and we have seen this trend over the past few years.”
“Putting it on the radar will allow authorities to better deal with victims and they will be more keen to speak up.
“Talking about issues behind forced marriage will make victims more open to coming forward.
“There are a number of reasons that forced marriages take place.
“Sometimes victims get married to individuals to get a spousal visa for an individual abroad.
“Other times, they believe they are doing the right thing by getting their son or daughter in to the right marriage.
But you are not doing the right thing by removing their choice into the marriage.
“Girls as young as 13 or 14 are brought overseas to meet their spouse, and are conditioned to believe they are making the choice but they are too young to consciously make such a big decision.”
Between May and July this a year, a total of 150 British teenagers have been called Karma Nirvana claiming they were forced into marriage, an increase of more than third over the same period in 2015, which saw 99 reported cases.
In 2004, forced marriage was made illegal in the UK, and those convicted can spend up to seven years in prison.
A Home Office spokesman previously said: “There are a number of reasons why cases are referred to the Forced Marriage Unit, not all of which are the result of a reluctant sponsor getting in contact.
“In some cases it will be decided, following inquiries, that no further action is necessary and a visa will be issued.
“If an individual refuses to act as the sponsor for a visa application then under the immigration rules, that visa should not be issued.”
Victims of forced marriage or those at risk should contact the Forced Marriage Unit or call 999 in case of an emergency.