Crackdown on forced marriages
A CRACKDOWN on forced marriages is set to see the minimum age for bringing an intended spouse into Britain raised from 16 to 18.
UK ministers today unveiled details of a new package to combat forced marriages, as it was revealed the Foreign Office has dealt with 1000 such cases since 2000.
Home Secretary David Blunkett and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw are also considering making forcing someone into marriage a criminal offence.
That part of their proposals will be the subject of consultation with the Scottish Executive.
A special unit within the Foreign Office has handled almost 1000 cases of forced marriage since it was set up in 2000. It has also rescued about 200 young people from overseas.
Ministers were expected to announce that a new forced marriage unit would be operational by the end of this year.
A source said that an order will be laid in parliament to raise the minimum age for marriage entry clearance from 16 to 18, and that it was expected to be in force by December this year.
Home Secretary David Blunkett said: "Forced marriage is simply an abuse of human rights.
" It is a form of domestic violence that dehumanises people by denying them their right to choose how to live their lives.
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw added: "The new joint forced marriage unit will develop the good work of our community liaison unit.
"Our high commissions and embassies work intensively with police and judiciary overseas to stop Britons being forced into marriage.
"Our consular staff have rescued victims who have been held captive, raped or forced into an abortion."
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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