Rise in reports of forced marriage in UKby Editorial Staff - 2017.03.10
In 2016 Britain's Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) recorded 1,428 cases of forced marriage through its public helpline and email service, up from 1,220 the year before. Around a quarter of cases in 2016 involved children under 18, but most victims were between 18 and 24 years old. The unit also said it had received the highest number of calls to its helpline since 2012. Activists said they were encouraged by the rise in recorded cases, saying it was likely due to more people reporting the crime because of greater awareness but campaigners said the number was the "tip of the iceberg" as the practice remains largely hidden. Forced marriage is illegal under British law, even if carried out abroad. Many cases involve girls from South Asian backgrounds, but the FMU said it had handled cases involving more than 90 countries since 2005. In 2016 Pakistan accounted for 612 cases handled, Bangladesh (121), India (79), Somalia (47), Afghanistan (39) and Saudi Arabia (16). Only 157 of cases involved potential or actual forced marriage happening in Britain.
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