Tuesday April 24, 2018
Home World In Britain, Y...

In Britain, Young Muslim girls are being forced into marriage over Skype

0
//
157
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks with Aneeta Prem from Freedom Charity (L) and Jasvinder Sanghera of Karwia Nirvana, during a meeting with the forced marriage unit in the Foreign Office in central London June 8, 2012. REUTERS/Jon Bond/Pool
Republish
Reprint

By Emma Batha

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation): Girls in Britain as young as 11 are being forced into marriage via the internet while others are being secretly wed over the phone, two charities said on Monday.

Imams in Britain and abroad have been conducting ceremonies using Skype to marry British girls remotely to men abroad, said the charity Freedom, which campaigns against forced marriage.

The new husband is often promised that he will get a visa to come to Britain.

In one case, an 11-year-old girl from London was married on Skype to a 25-year-old man in Bangladesh, Freedom’s founder Aneeta Prem said.

The girl, who hadn’t understood the significance of the Skype call at the time, contacted Freedom after reading a book about forced marriage by Prem that her brother was given at school.

“As soon as she was old enough the family were planning to take her out to consummate the marriage,” Prem said.

“She had been pulled out of school and was being taught to be a housewife.”

Prem said only a handful of internet marriages had come to light so far, but the number was increasing.

Forced marriages affect several communities in Britain, but Skype marriages only involve Muslim girls – other faiths require brides and grooms to be physically present during the ceremony, campaigners said.

Another case concerned a 13-year-old girl who said she was forced to marry an 18-year-old Iranian over Skype. A 17-year-old boy was also married on Skype after his family found out he had a white girlfriend.

“MARRIAGE BY PHONE”

Britain made forced marriage illegal in 2014. It is also a crime to take someone abroad to be married against their will.

Prem said Skype marriages were attractive to some families because the marriage was instant and they were less likely to get caught.

Karma Nirvana, another British charity which campaigns against forced marriage, said it had received calls to its helpline from girls who had been married off over the phone.

The girls often don’t realize the phone call is a marriage ceremony until their family tells them afterwards.

“Some victims have contacted us and said: ‘I’ve been married over the phone because my family think that I’m shaming them.’,” said Karma Nirvana founder Jasvinder Sanghera.

“The quickest way to marry someone off is not going to be taking them out to Pakistan, India, or wherever, the quickest way to get them into marriage is going to be over the phone.”

Karma Nirvana helpline manager Priya Manota estimated thousands of British girls under the age of 18 are being forced into marriage every year.

Britain’s Forced Marriage Unit confirmed it had come across cases of forced marriage being conducted by Skype.

“Forced marriage is an abhorrent practice which is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated in the UK, regardless of how it takes place,” the Home Office said.

It said forced marriages by Skype could be treated as an offense under the legislation.

(Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories.)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 NewsGram

Next Story

Britain To Ban Sale Of Plastic Straws In Bid To Fight Waste

Britain planning to ban the sale of Plastic products

0
//
10
An alternative for plastic straws.
Stainless steel straws are displayed at the cooperative Sin Plastico (Without Plastic), which offers environmentally friendly household items free from plastic materials and packaging, in Bilbao, Spain, April 6, 2018. Britain plans to ban the sale of plastic straws and other single-use items. VOA

Britain plans to ban the sale of plastic straws and other single-use products and is pressing Commonwealth allies to also take action to tackle marine waste, the office of Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May said.

It said drink stirrers and cotton buds would also be banned under the plans.

May has pledged to eradicate avoidable plastic waste by 2042 as part of a “national plan of action.”

“Plastic waste is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world, which is why protecting the marine environment is central to our agenda at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting,” May said in a statement ahead of a Commonwealth summit Thursday.

A woman drinking from plastic straw
A woman drinks from a paper cup through a plastic straw on Westminster

Leaders from the Commonwealth — a network of 53 countries, mostly former British colonies — are meeting in London this week.

May is looking to deepen ties to the Commonwealth as Britain seeks to boost trade and carve out a new role in the world ahead of the country’s departure from the European Union in March next year.

Britain will commit 61.4 million pounds ($87.21 million) at the summit to develop new ways of tackling plastic waste and help Commonwealth countries limit how much plastic ends up in the ocean.

“We are rallying Commonwealth countries to join us in the fight against marine plastic,” May said.

Also Read: Plastic-Eating Enzyme Accidentally Developed By Scientists

“Together we can effect real change so that future generations can enjoy a natural environment that is healthier than we currently find it.”

The statement said environment minister Michael Gove would launch a consultation later this year into the plan to ban the plastic items. It gave no details who the consultation would be with.  VOA

Next Story