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Forced marriage cases will stay 'underground' after law change

22nd February 2024

BBC News

Survivors of forced marriage fear cases will remain underground, despite a new minimum-age law designed to crack down on children being married.

It comes after the minimum legal marriage age in England and Wales was increased from 16 to 18, in 2023.

A government spokesperson said child marriage "destroys lives".

One woman who was held at gunpoint and forced into wedding her cousin at 16, said the options she had were "death or marriage."

The government's forced marriage unit (FMU) provided support and advice to 302 cases in 2022, with almost one third affecting victims who were aged 17 or under.

After London, statistics show the West Midlands has the country's highest percentage of cases, with 17%.

The FMU, set up by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Home Office, said it gave advice to 337 cases in 2021, compared to 759 in 2020, although it stresses the data was not directly comparable.

Read more: BBC News

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