A unit of Britain’s foreign and home offices dealing with cases of forced marriage reported that India was among its top four countries of focus during 2017.
According to latest figures, the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) dealt with 82 cases linked to India. Pakistan leads the list with 439 cases, followed by Bangladesh (129) and Somalia (91).
“The proportion of cases linked to India in 2017 was similar to 2016. There was a higher proportion of older victims as well as male victims this is most likely due to the fact that many of these cases were reluctant sponsors,” a the FMU note said.
It noted that the cases are not broken down by religion: “(No) major faith in the UK advocates forced marriage. It is also important to note that freely given consent is a prerequisite of Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh marriages.”
“Coercion may include emotional force, physical force or the threat of physical force, and, financial pressure. In an arranged marriage, both parties have consented to the union but can still refuse to marry if they choose to,” the statistical note added.