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Forced Marriage



Forced marriage is an issue for many people, but for lesbian and gay people in particular.

The government lauched the forced marriage unit in January 2006.

Home Office Minister, Rt Hon Baroness Scotland QC, said:

"Forced marriage affects children, teenagers and adults from all races and religions, including Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims and Sikhs. And it is not solely an issue facing Asian communities. We deal with cases in the Middle East, Western Balkans and Africa.

"Forced marriage is a form of domestic violence and a human rights abuse. The victims often face emotional and physical abuse. We are determined to help young people at risk and protect their right to choose whom they marry."

Photo of Meera Syal

Supporting the campaign, celebrated author and actress Meera Syal said:

"This is an extremely important campaign for all members of the community - young and old. For young people, they need to know that there is help out there and that it is okay to ask for help. And we want the older generations to know that we respect their culture, tradition and we understand that arranged marriages have a place in society. But there is a vast difference between an arranged and a forced marriage consent."

Photo of Ameet Chana

Former Eastenders star Ameet Chana continued:

"I, probably like most people, believed that only women were affected and forced into marriage, but I was amazed to find that 15% of the cases that are currently reported to the Unit are men ... and I bet that the numbers are far greater, but it's hard for men to come forward and admit they need help and are being forced into a situation like this. This campaign is key to reassuring them that they are not alone and help is available."

If you fear you may be forced into marriage overseas, or know someone else who may be, the Forced Marriage Unit can help. The sooner it knows about the case, the more it can do to help. The number is:

020 7008 0151 *

All calls will be dealt with on a totally confidential basis by skilled caseworkers fully aware of the cultural, social and emotional issues surrounding this abuse.

* You may want to phone from a public phone box, well away from home.

E-mail is fmu@fco.gov.uk. You may want to delete the e-mail from your 'Sent' box.

Forced Marriage leaflet See the Forced Marriage Unit's leaflet.

For more information see the 'Forced Marriage Unit' on the Internet.


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