Archive for the ‘Forced Marriage’ Category

CAMPAIGNERS ARGUE: ‘FORCED MARRIAGE IS A CRIME, NOT CULTURE’

COMMUNITIES should help the police by reporting suspicions related to forced marriage, a
campaigner has urged, as she revealed she felt UK politicians were failing victims.

Jasvinder Sanghera, the founder of Karma Nirvana which supports victim of honour-based
abuse, also warned more children would suffer because of the government’s failures.

Sanghera, who was disowned by her family after she refused to participate in a forced marriage, told Eastern Eye on Tuesday (9) that communities could help agencies, especially the police, by reporting any suspicions they had about forced marriages.

“It is very difficult to police, safeguard and investigate cases without the support of those aware of victims,” she said. “I understand it takes immense courage to report abuses as a third party, but you can anonymously.”

Last week, the home secretary Sajid Javid announced new measures to combat forced marriage.

They include the refusal of spousal entry visas to the UK where there are signs that a marriage has been forced and helping public service professionals identify and support victims. Javid made the announcement after months of criticism against the Home Office, which has been accused of accepting visa applications from men who had forcibly married teenagers abroad.

In response to this, Prem praised the government’s latest actions to tackle the problem.

She is hopeful the latest proposals will make a difference to victims.

“These are small steps, but it is a positive move forward,” she said.

Noreen Riaz, a project coordinator from forced marriage charity Halo Project, told Eastern Eye she shared similar sentiments as Prem. She believes change is happening, but it is a slow process.

“The government has made the necessary legislative changes to tackle forced marriages in the UK,” Riaz said.

“However, I agree more needs to be done to ensure change in practice and in the culture that it is prevalent in.

“Victims of forced marriage are at greater risk of physical, emotional and sexual abuse. We need to ensure professionals and agencies are aware of these risks and have a better understanding and training in regard to the barriers faced by victims of forced marriages,”
Riaz said.

UK Somali teenagers taken ‘on holiday’ and forced into marriage

British Somali teenagers are being taken back to their parents’ homeland under the pretence of a holiday and then kept in detention centres before being forced into marriages.

Under the practice of dhaqan celis, loosely translated as “the rehabilitation community”, Somali children and teenagers are routinely taken to the country, where they are often sent to “rehabilitation” centres.

The centres promote themselves as “re-education” schools to align young people with Somali cultural values and their Somali roots. The Home Office, however, says they tend not to deliver an academic curriculum and are in fact detention centres where young people are routinely subjected to physical, sexual and mental abuse. In some cases, those held against their will are told the only way out is to get married.

David Myers, joint head of the Home Office’s forced marriage unit (FMU) in the UK, said: “What we are seeing in these communities is that young people who have antisocial behaviour issues, are getting involved in gangs and drugs, and are being sent back to Somalia by their parents for re-education and rehabilitation.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/aug/26/british-somali-teenagers-taken-on-holiday-only-to-be-forced-into-marriage

Forced marriage: Leeds parents jailed over Bangladesh wedding

A husband and wife have been jailed for tricking their daughter into travelling to Bangladesh in order to force her into marriage.

The couple were described as “monsters” by their daughter who they had threatened to kill if she did not go ahead with the arrangement.

The father was jailed for four-and-a-half years and the mother for three-and-a-half years at Leeds Crown Court.

None of those involved in the case can be named.

More stories from Yorkshire

The then 18-year-old daughter had to be rescued from a remote village in an operation by the British High Commission involving armed police, the judge heard,

The woman, who is from Leeds and is now aged 20, described in a victim impact statement how she had assumed a new identity and lived in fear of her family.

She said: “I know I will always have to remain cautious but, knowing those monsters are going to be in prison, I feel the uttermost freedom in my heart.

“I want other girls to know that forcing someone to marry is wrong.”

‘Chop her up’

The woman was taken to Bangladesh with other family members for what they had been told was a holiday.

But the parents had made extensive plans for her wedding to a first cousin.

She reacted against the plan and her father hit her, with her mother’s encouragement, the court heard.

Her father said he would “chop her up in 18 seconds” if she continued to reject the proposed marriage, the judge was told.

The woman managed to alert the police through her boyfriend in the UK and the court was played some of the messages she left on his phone.

Judge Simon Phillips QC said of the recordings: “Her terror and distress is palpable.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-45010987

Conflict and breakdown in law and order drive scourge of modern slavery

Anew report has revealed the number of people around the world subject to trafficking and exploitation as modern-day slaves.

Modern slavery, described by UK prime minister Theresa May as “cruel exploitation”, encompasses both forced labour and forced marriage as well as human trafficking both within and between countries, debt bondage and the sale and exploitation of children.

The Global Slavery Index, a biennial survey of the international trade of people and goods that are reliant on the slave trade, reveals that 40 million people around the world are being held as modern-day slaves. The majority are in forced labour – 24.9 million – with 15.4 million held in forced marriage. And 70 per cent of all those living as slaves are women and girls.

The report says that the figures are likely to be an underestimate because of the lack of data from regions such as the Arab States and on practices such as the kidnap of children by armed groups and the number of people held for organ trafficking.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/conflict-breakdown-law-order-drive-scourge-modern-slavery/

I was a victim of forced marriage

Anusha*

I always knew I would be forced to marry somebody I barely knew and didn’t love. In my family, being a woman was all about being somebody else’s property – first you belong to your parents, then your husband. I was an object, expected to wait on men and produce children.

It is an experience shared by the 3,500 people who have reported forced marriage to the police within the past three years – and the thousands more suffering in silence.

There is a difference between forced and arranged marriages. The latter is a marriage set up by family members of two people over the age of 18, who can both choose whether or not to participate. This becomes a forced marriage if either partner is unwilling or unable to give permission.

In the UK, forced marriage is illegal and has been since 2014. This includes if people are taking someone abroad or bringing them into this country for this reason. Yet, in England, it’s believed that only one in 30 suspected forced marriages leads to a prosecution, and it’s clear many cases are still flying under the radar.

South Yorkshire man wins protection order in forced marriage first

Police issue safeguarding order to protect male victim from honour-based abuse

A British man who was promised into marriage at five years old has become the first male in South Yorkshire to be granted a forced marriage protection order.

The teenage boy and his three younger siblings were all protected from becoming victims of forced marriage. The 19-year-old had received threats for not complying to a pre-arranged marriage, to which his parents had agreed when he was five.

It is the first time South Yorkshire police have issued a safeguarding order to protect a male victim from honour-based abuse.

DI Suzanne Jackson said the case was “a huge step forward”.

Forced marriage convictions are welcome but for many victims stigma is still judge and jury

In the four years since a change in the law regarding forced marriages in England and Wales, there have been two cases where parents have been convicted of forcing their daughters to marry by taking them out of the country to their countries of origin.

One case, in Birmingham in May 2018, involved taking a daughter to Pakistan, the other – in Leeds, also in May 2018 – involved a couple luring their daughter to Bangladesh for a forced marriage. These were the first convictions of their kind in England. In 2015, a man was jailed for forced marriage (among other offences) after a Welsh court found he had raped and blackmailed a woman into marrying him.

These cases are remarkable, not least for the courage demonstrated by the young survivors in speaking out. But to what extent do these judgements represent justice in the eyes of those who have survived forced marriage – and what hurdles must they overcome to obtain it?

https://theconversation.com/forced-marriage-convictions-are-welcome-but-for-many-victims-stigma-is-still-judge-and-jury-97635

FORCED MARRIAGE: IT IS GETTING WORSE SAY CAMPAIGNERS

A LEADING campaigner against forced marriage and an advisor to the Foreign Office’s Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) has said the latest “shocking” figures on the issue are the “tip of the iceberg”.

Aneeta Prem, the founder of Freedom Charity, also revealed that 20 per cent of victims referred to the organisation are men and young boys.

Her comments were in response to statistics published in The Guardian on Monday (28), which revealed more than 3,500 forced marriage reports have made been to police in the past three years.

The report also added that charity Karma Nirvana had received almost 9,000 calls in 2017, including more than 200 from children under 15, related to forced marriage.

Prem told Eastern Eye that there are still far more cases yet to be exposed. “It’s a huge problem in the UK – it is increasing and not getting better. We know there are a lot more people going through this, but are too afraid to report it,” she said.

Yasmin Khan, the CEO and founder of Halo Project, a support network for forced marriage and honour-based violence victims, told Eastern Eye there is still a lack of awareness and understanding of what agencies should do to protect vulnerable adults and children.

“The important issue must be to protect and support those at risk, ensuring the first point of disclosure and reporting is dealt with correctly,” she said. “It is of paramount importance we help and support women, not just for forced marriage but for all the added abuse which comes with this violation of human rights.”

When contacted by Eastern Eye, a spokesperson from the Home Office said since the
introduction of the FMU in 2008, over 1,500 Forced Marriage Protection Orders prevented
people from being forced into a marriage and to assist in repatriating victims.

Forced marriage: It is getting worse say campaigners

When will councils start saving girls from forced marriage ‘holidays’?

Teenagers can’t be expected to implicate their parents. Child protection services must be braver and intervene

The 3,500 reports of forced marriage over a three-year period, revealed by the Guardian this week, translates to 22 unwilling brides (sometimes bridegrooms) every single week. That sounds bad enough, but what’s even less palatable is that every such “marriage” means someone is being raped. Typically, repeatedly raped. And it’s the people who are loved and trusted most – mothers and fathers, aunts, uncles and siblings – who are facilitating those rapes. When it’s a minor who is married off against their will, the plain truth is that these relatives are planning, assisting and encouraging child rape.

Extraordinary numbers of young women – and sometimes young men – are living in fear of this crime: last year alone the charity Karma Nirvana, which campaigns against “honour”-based violence, took nearly 9,000 calls on its Forced Marriage helpline. Last year, almost 200 of those calls were made either by terrified children aged 15 or under or on their behalf. Their fears are not inflated: it turns out that the majority of applications for forced marriage protection orders are for children aged 17 or under.

According to charities that support victims of forced marriage, “honour”-based crimes are most prevalent in diaspora communities from South Asia, the Middle East and north and east Africa practising Muslim, Sikh and Hindu religions, as well as Orthodox Jewish and occasionally Traveller communities.

Uncomfortable though it may feel, teachers, police, medical professionals and child protection workers can no longer dance delicately around this, fearful of potential damage to community relations. It’s hard to imagine that anyone might facilitate the repeated rape of their own child, but the numbers tell a different story. And in the past two weeks, a mother in Birmingham and a couple in Leeds have been found guilty of tricking their teenage daughters oversees – to Pakistan in the first case and Bangladesh in the second – to marry against their will. When it’s a minor, the state has enhanced statutory duties under the Forced Marriage Act of 2007 to protect these children – so who was looking after them?

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/01/councils-girls-forced-marriage-child-protection

Saira Khan: Forced marriage is often a form of child abuse – and it needs to end

For far too long the authorities in this country have backed off from talking about forced marriage – partly due to ignorance of what is involved, but mainly because they are scared of being called racist, writes Saira Khan

As I watched those loving glances pass between Harry and Meghan last week, I couldn’t help but think of my own wedding.

It was everything it should have been – one of the happiest days of my life.

But as I looked into my groom’s eyes and said my vows, I knew I was doubly lucky – so many girls of my cultural background are not allowed to marry for love.

So I was gratified to see the four- and-a-half-year jail sentence passed this week in Birmingham on a woman for taking her 13-year-old daughter to Pakistan and forcing her to sign a marriage contract with a 29-year-old man who then raped his terrified young “bride” and made her pregnant.

For far too long the authorities in this country have backed off from talking about forced marriage – partly due to ignorance of what is involved, but mainly because they are scared of being called racist.

As a British child in a family of Pakistani origin, I grew up watching young girls – and sometimes boys – being taken to Pakistan, India or even to different parts of the UK and made to marry partners their parents had chosen for the benefit of family and community honour.

In many ways, it’s the story of Rochdale and Telford all over again – police, social workers and politicians turning a blind eye to flagrant law-breaking in the name of not offending religious and cultural sensitivities.

Just as they wrote off those girls who were groomed and abused by mainly Asian gangs, they also ignored the plight of thousands of Asian teenagers married off to strangers and made to abandon their education for early motherhood and forced domesticity.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/saira-khan-forced-marriage-often-12601067

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