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Karma Nirvana: Spending a day at the helpline advising terrified girls being pushed into forced marriages

It was the first of many messages sent to the forced marriage and honour abuse charity Karma Nirvana from a teenager desperate to escape home. Over the past few months, in snatched one-line messages – “can’t stay at home any more. Losing the plot” – she has tried to plan her escape with staff at the helpline.

In her chain of emails, she has claimed to be a “punch bag” for the family and expressed fears that her parents will  “send her away to get married or worse” if they knew she was planning on fleeing.

When The Independent spent a day at the helpline this week, the young woman was finally able to make telephone contact, sneaking a few seconds alone while her family were downstairs. Softly, she asks if the charity has been able to find a refuge for her in the city she wants to move to. The answer is no: all places are full up for the second day in a row.

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