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Tuesday, 6 November, 2001, 04:48 GMT
Rooting out forced marriages
Asian women
More than 1,000 UK women a year are forced to marry
The government is due to announce the progress it has made in tackling the problem of forced marriages.

It follows the decision 15 months ago to set up an action plan on the issue, which the government says, has helped more than 200 men and women who faced being forced into marriage in the past year.

The document made 60 recommendations to deal with the problem, which predominantly affects the Asian community.

Each year, more than 1,000 girls in Britain, many in their teens, are tricked by their families into travelling overseas, where they are expected to marry a complete stranger.

On Tuesday, Home Office minister Angela Eagle and Foreign Office minister Baroness Amos will give an update on progress made in preventing the practice.

A working group studied the issue before reporting back to ministers in summer 2000.

Raft of recommendations

It found that factors such as family honour and long-standing family commitments or protecting religious and cultural ideals were reasons why a small minority of parents forced their daughters into marriage.

The government has stressed that forced marriages are very different from arranged marriages, where both partners consent.

The working party made 60 recommendations which would help to root out the problem, including the development of monitoring policies to prevent forced marriages.

Two months later, the government published its action plan, which included provision of a credit card-sized help sheet which could be hidden on the person of potential victims, and a 250,000 programme to improve liaison between British and overseas police forces.

Forced marriages are also carried out in the UK, but are a small fraction of the arranged marriages which take place in Britain every year.

The BBC's Barney Choudhury
reports on the issues surrounding forced marriages
Angela Eagle, Home Office minister
"It is an issue we are trying to deal with on all levels"
See also:

06 Nov 01 | England
Tricked into a forced marriage
16 Aug 99 | UK
Forced into wedlock
05 Aug 99 | UK Politics
Forced marriage clampdown welcomed
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