- Hundreds of young people, particularly girls and young women – some as young as 13 year olds – are forced into marriage each year in Britain. Some are taken overseas to marry whilst others may be forced to marry in the UK.
- The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) deals with about 400 cases every year – many of them involving minors.
- Boys and young men are also victims of forced marriage. About 15 per cent of the FMU’s cases involve boys and/or young men being forced to marry against their wishes.
- Forced marriage is not the same as an arranged marriage in which both spouses can choose whether or not to accept the arrangement. In a forced marriage, one or both spouses do not consent to the marriage or consent is extracted under duress, including physical and emotional pressure.
- Forced marriage can involve child abuse, including abduction, violence, rape, enforced pregnancy and enforced abortion.
- Refusing to marry can place a young person at risk of murder, sometimes also known as ‘honour killing’.
- Forced marriage is not sanctioned within any culture or religion.
- The majority of cases in the UK involve South Asian families, but also families from East Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.
Know Your Rights
Many of the activities involved in forcing someone to marry are illegal: the law protects the victims of any crimes and their right to choose who they marry.
If this is happening to you or someone you know, it’s not your fault and you are not alone. There are lots of organisations you can contact who are able to advise you on how you may be able to stop the marriage going ahead, or what you can do to avoid it.