Archive for July, 2013

Tougher penalties announced against forced marriage

The Ministry of Justice has introduced tougher penalties for those who break Forced Marriage Protection Orders (FMPO). It is now a criminal offence to breach a FMPO punishable by up to five years in prison.

Forced marriage is a marriage in which one or both individuals do not (or cannot) consent to marriage, but are forced into it. Being forced can include: physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure.

Victims of forced marriage can be both women and men, and the marriages may take place in the UK or overseas. Previously there was no specific offence of forcing someone to marry – however someone could be prosecuted for criminal offences involved in forcing someone to marry such as kidnap, false imprisonment, assault, child abduction, harassment, etc. The FMPO use civil law to protect someone at risk of being forced into a marriage. A FMPO puts in place restrictions for example: not to threaten or use force against the person concerned; to not take a person’s passport or other travel document; and not to arrange the engagement or marriage of the person protected by the FMPO. A new offence of breaching a FMPO has been introduced with a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment, a fine or both on indictment (serious crime) and six months imprisonment, a fine or both on summary (lower level).

A new offence of forced marriage has also been introduced with a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment, a fine or both on indictment (more serious) and six months imprisonment, a fine or both, on summary (lower level).

The new measures are being brought in by the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing (ASBCP) Bill, which was introduced on 9th May 2013 and includes measures to make both forced marriage and the breach of an FMPO a criminal offence.


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‘She would rather die than endure female genital mutilation’: Meet the schoolgirl, 15, hiding in Manchester from the most horrific of crimes


Imagine being strapped down against your will and having your genitals removed with a shard of glass by someone with no medical expertise, in the most unhygenic of conditions.

It sounds like something out of a horror movie. Yet this is the reality faced by millions of young girls and women across the world –female genital mutilation (FGM). And now a Nigerian teenager who escaped the horrors of FGM and fled to Greater Manchester is at risk of deportation after the UK Border Agency rejected her claim for asylum last year. Manchester-based refugee and asylum organisation RAPAR are dedicated to protecting 15-year-old Olayinka against relatives in Nigeria who insist that she must endure the ‘traditional’ procedure that killed her eight-year-old sister in 1992.


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After increasing pressure from her family and a failed attempt to force the procedure on Olayinka, resulting in her and her brother being savagely beaten, her mother Abiola Olaoye fled Nigeria in 2010 and currently lives safely in Rochdale with her children.

The hard work of the organisation has so far paid off and the Border Agency have agreed to let the family remain in Britain until the end of the school year, however with the deadline looming a fresh appeal has been made in the hopes that Olayinka can remain safe in Manchester.


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Female genital mutilation victim was ‘aged just seven’

A girl of seven was the youngest victim of female genital mutilation (FGM) treated by the NHS in the past two years, according to new data.

Some 1,700 women and girls were treated by specialist FGM clinics but this masks a bigger problem says the NSPCC. A UK-wide helpline to protect girls at risk of ritual cutting, practised by some African, Middle Eastern and Asian communities, goes live on Monday. The victims “are hidden behind a wall of silence”, said Lisa Harker of NSPCC. The helpline is run by NSPCC child protection experts who have had training and advice from experts who work with women and girls who have undergone this form of ritual mutilation.

Young girl (model)

Extreme pain

The charity describes the practice as “illegal and life-threatening” and says that it results in extreme pain as well as physical and psychological problems that can continue into adulthood. Female genital mutilation, sometimes known as female circumcision has been illegal in the UK since 1985 – but still continues in secret, often carried out without anaesthetic. Some communities from parts of Africa and the Middle East, from both Muslim and Christian traditions, believe it is a necessary part of becoming a woman, that it reduces female sex drive and therefore the chances of sex outside marriage.

Sometimes girls are sent abroad to have it done. Sometimes it is done in the UK. It involves the partial or total removal of the female genital organs, sometimes only leaving a small hole for urination or menstruation. The NSPCC says that victims are usually aged between four and 10 but some are younger. Comfort Momoh, a midwife at Guys and St Thomas’s Hospital in London, collated the figures from the specialist clinics.

She told BBC news that many women are not identified until they become pregnant and are examined by medical staff. Others suffer recurrent urinary tract infections and abdominal pain. “Many people are not aware they have had it done as it was carried out when they were babies.”


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UN report reveals rampant trafficking of girls nicknamed Paro into Haryana for forced marriages

Chandigarh, July 10: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC)  in its report has chronicled rampant large-scale trafficking of girls from other states into Haryana where they are held as bonded labourers and forced into marriages. Such girls are nicknamed Paro (of Devdas fame) in the villages of Haryana, particularly in Mewat area.  The girls are forced to marry against their will and are “sold” at price that varies according to their age, beauty and virginity.
The UN report has blamed Haryana’s fast declining female sex ratio for large-scale trafficking of girls from other states. The report, “Current Status of Victim Service Providers and Criminal Justice Actors in India on Anti-Human Trafficking-2013”, states: “There’s a large-scale trafficking of girls from the North-East. These girls are being brought to Haryana for forced marriage and bonded labour.


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