The headline from this story from the Times of London is stomach-turning: “Special protection order saves nine-year-olds from forced marriage.”
The nine-year-olds were among 86 females granted the civil safeguards in the 12 months since the forced marriage protection orders were introduced. Nearly half of the applicants, 39, were children with some as young as nine, the Ministry of Justice confirmed.
Although the overall number of 86 victims seems low, it is twice the number the Government had expected to seek help in the first year of the orders coming into effect.
Hundreds of girls and young women in the UK are forced into marriage each year, according to the report published by the Ministry of Justice into the first year of the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act of 2007.
The report says the women and girls come under physical, psychological, sexual, financial and emotional pressure.
“A woman who is forced into marriage is likely to be raped and may be raped repeatedly until she becomes pregnant,” the report says.
What’s the religion angle? If you suspected there was one, you were right. It’s not entirely clear from the way this story is written, but the final paragraph suggests that this story is really about forced marriage among Britain’s foreign-born Muslims. Additionally, “the tribunal estimates that as many as seven in ten of all marriages involving UK citizens with a foreign element involve coercion.”
Read the rest here.