Forced marriage: UK mother found guilty of making girl wed older relative


A UK mother who tricked her daughter into marrying a man while on a holiday to Pakistan has become the first woman in Britain to be convicted of forced marriage.

The girl was 13 when she was forced to marry a man 16 years older than her. The girl, whose identity has not been revealed, is now in her late teens. She reportedly wept throughout the ceremony.

A Birmingham court found the woman guilty of two charges of forced marriage and one of perjury. This was the first time a conviction has been secured after a victim testified against her own family. Forced marriage became an offence in the UK in 2014.

The woman, 45, forced the girl to marry her husband’s nephew, who got her pregnant in 2012 when she was taken to Pakistan to meet her mother’s new husband. The girl’s pregnancy was confirmed by a doctor in Birmingham and children’s services had even launched an investigation. But their inquiries ended soon afterwards as the mother “made all the right noises to children’s services and created the impression that this was two teenagers who had sneakily had sex without her knowledge.”

The girl, before turning 18, was once again tricked into travelling to Pakistan under the pretence of a family holiday and once there she was forced to sign marriage papers.

“I didn’t want to get married to him,” the girl said while giving evidence during the trial.

The girl’s mother threatened to burn her passport when she protested against the marriage.

Prominent Pakistani activist Bina Shah told CNN that forced marriage was culturally embedded in Pakistan. “It is a major problem in Pakistan. We have the problem of child marriage but also coerced marriages, which given that most marriages in Pakistan are arranged, is widespread,” she said, adding that alliances between relations are made to keep property within the family. “People are looking for other advantages, for example, to marry someone with a foreign passport,” she told CNN.