- Four children a day are spirited out of Britain over summer holidays
- Cards offering help to those at risk will be handed out to schools and GPs
Teachers have been put on alert for pupils who could be taken out of the country and forced to marry strangers. It is thought up to four children a day are spirited out of Britain over the summer holidays to be wed against their wishes. New cards offering help to those at risk of being forced to marry will be handed out to schools, airports and GPs’ surgeries. Aneeta Prem, founder of Freedom Charity, which helps victims of forced marriage, said: ‘The “Marriage: it’s your choice” card is a concise and accessible way to receive information that could save someone’s life.
‘It’s vital that young people travelling abroad for a family wedding realise it could be their own wedding – and know who they should contact should they find themselves in danger.’ Between June and August last year the government’s Forced Marriage Unit had more than 400 reported cases, compared with 1,485 cases for the whole year.
Crime prevention minister Jeremy Browne said: ‘The rise in forced marriage reports over the school holidays is shocking.
‘Teenagers expecting their GCSE or A-level results should be embarking on a bright future, not condemned to a marriage with someone they have never met and do not want to marry. ‘This is a serious abuse of human rights and that is why we are legislating to make it illegal.’