15th August 2018

Forced marriage was made illegal in the UK in 2014 and since then there have been 3 convictions.

The first conviction of its kind was in 2015 when a businessman was sentenced to 16 years in prison after making a 25 year old woman marry him under duress the previous year.

2018 has seen 2 further convictions.

The first happened in May of this year and involved a Birmingham woman who was jailed for four and a half years for duping her 17 year old daughter into travelling to Pakistan and forcing her to marry a man 16 years her senior.

A week later, a couple were also convicted of forced marriage after tricking their 18 year old daughter into travelling to Bangladesh in order to marry her cousin. They have been jailed for 8 years.

The Forced Marriage Unit, a specialist governmental body which leads on the government’s forced marriage policy, outreach and casework had 1,200 forced marriage cases reported to it in 2017. A quarter of the victims involved were below the age of 18.

The banning of forced marriage in 2014 was a controversial decision with a number of NGO’s believing that it could lead to the act being taken underground and not reported. This is in contrast to others who hailed it as a victory with the hope that convictions would increase the knowledge of the practice and act as a deterrent.

Blog by Ifi Archibong, International Family Law Paralegal