Forced marriages: School holidays prompt warning

Teachers, doctors and airport staff need to be alert to the problem of forced marriages over the school holidays, the government has warned. Ministers said there were concerns about teenagers being taken abroad thinking they were going on holiday but being forced into marriage instead. Figures suggest cases are particularly common during the summer break. The government’s Forced Marriage Unit received 400 reports between June and August last year.

Recent estimates suggest more than 5,000 people from the UK are forced into marriage every year. More than a third of those affected are aged under 16. The government is calling for increased awareness, and is promoting an advice line and information cards aimed at potential victims to explain how they can get help.

Councillor Sameem Ali

Sameem Ali was forced into a marriage aged 13

Tougher action

Foreign Office minister Mark Simmonds said: “The school summer holidays are the time when young people are at the highest risk of being taken overseas for a forced marriage.”Our ‘Marriage: It’s Your Choice’ cards highlight that people who are at risk of forced marriage know they can turn to our Forced Marriage Unit for support, whether they are at home or are already abroad.” Ministers said it was wrong that teenagers who should be thinking about their exam results found themselves lured into a life of fear and subservience instead.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23639070

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