The Hidden Crime of Forced Marriage
This article was translated from an article by one of our ground team leaders, and the statistics are sourced from the Forced Marriage Unit for the year 2022.
In the dimly lit corners of society, where the cries of the oppressed echo unheard, lies a crime that transcends borders, cultures, and religions. Forced marriage is not confined to a specific region or belief system; it’s a global affliction that continues to haunt the lives of countless individuals.
As a veteran ground team leader, I’ve seen the faces behind the numbers. The statistics are not mere figures; they are stories of pain, resilience, and a desperate plea for freedom. Let’s delve into the 2022 statistics of the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) in the UK and understand the magnitude of this issue.
The Stark Reality: Numbers Don’t Lie
In 2022, the FMU provided advice and support in 302 cases related to possible forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM). These included 297 cases of forced marriage and 5 of FGM. The unit also responded to 545 general inquiries.
The victims’ ages varied:
- 88 cases (29%) involved victims aged 17 and under
- 119 cases (39%) involved victims aged 18 to 25
- 62 cases (19%) involved victims with mental capacity concerns
Gender-wise, 235 cases (78%) involved female victims, and 67 cases (22%) involved male victims. The majority (78%) of victims were in the UK at the time the case was referred to the FMU.
The top ‘focus countries’ in 2022 were:
- Pakistan: 147 cases (49%)
- Bangladesh: 41 cases (14%)
- India: 20 cases (7%)
- Afghanistan: 9 cases (3%)
- Iraq: 7 cases (2%)
- Somalia: 5 cases (2%)
The Hidden Crime
These statistics only represent the cases reported to the FMU. Forced marriage is a hidden crime, and these figures do not reflect the full scale of the abuse. The Home Office has commissioned a study to estimate the prevalence of forced marriage and FGM in England and Wales, acknowledging the complexity of this issue.
Training and Awareness
The FMU has been running training workshops for police officers and social workers. In 2022, the FMU delivered training to 1,537 UK professionals, a 52% increase compared to 2021. Additionally, 5,209 people took the FMU’s “Awareness of Forced Marriage” free online course.
The Law and Its Reach
The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022 expanded the criminal offense of forced marriage in England and Wales. It’s now an offense to cause a child to marry before their eighteenth birthday, even without violence or coercion.
A Personal Reflection
As someone who has been on the frontline, battling this heinous crime, these numbers are more than statistics. They are a reminder of the faces I’ve seen, the tears I’ve wiped, and the lives I’ve helped rebuild.
The fight against forced marriage is far from over. It requires collective action, awareness, and relentless pursuit of justice. The FMU’s efforts are commendable, but the battle is vast, and the enemy is elusive.
We must continue to shine a light on this hidden crime, educate our communities, and empower our professionals. The fight is not just against forced marriage; it’s a fight for human dignity, freedom, and the right to choose one’s destiny.
In the words of a survivor, “Freedom is not just a word; it’s a lifeline.” Let us all be that lifeline for those trapped in the shadows of forced marriage.
Join the Fight: Your Support Can Redeem Lives
The battle against forced marriage is not one we can win alone. It requires the collective strength, compassion, and commitment of people like you. At Redeem the Oppressed, we are on a mission to assist persecuted minorities and combat slavery, including the hidden crime of forced marriage.
Since 2010, we’ve rescued over 35,000 individuals, providing healthcare, legal aid, jobs, housing, and necessities to freed slaves. Our efficiency has allowed us to save lives at an average cost of just $62 per person. But there are still countless lives waiting to be redeemed.
Your support can make a difference.
By donating to Redeem the Oppressed, you are not just giving money; you are giving hope, freedom, and a chance at a new life. Your contribution will enable us to continue our vital work, including our 2023 goals of building a village for rescued slaves and saving over 100,000 families.
We’ve just launched “Operation Lifeline,” a mission to rescue activists and families from Taliban terror in Afghanistan. Your donation can help cover evacuation costs, legal fees, visas, and resettlement in safer countries.
Every dollar counts. Every life matters.
Join us in this noble cause. Stand with us in the fight against forced marriage and slavery. Together, we can redeem the oppressed and restore dignity to those who have been silenced for too long.
Donate Now and become a beacon of hope for those trapped in the shadows of injustice.