The British government’s Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) has received hundreds of calls from young gay men and women – mainly men – who fear they are going to be forced into marriage by their family, against their will.
In 2010, the FMU has dealt with 29 confirmed cases of forced marriage involving gay men and women. The following year, 2011, the unit offered support and advice to nearly 1,700 cases in total. One victim who had kissed a girl at the age of 12 years knew that she was a lesbian. When she came out to her parents, they still forced her into a marriage with a man.
To aid the process, a gun, a knife, and pills are often left in the room, along with a can of petrol and a box of matches. Even exorcism is tried and with a religious group around the victim, it takes will power to know that you are NOT possessed by evil spirits.
Taking Victims Out of the Country
One trick that families have been using is a holiday in their country of origin. The victim is shown the return ticket. Once in the foreign country, girls can be kidnapped or taken to remote areas and dumped on a relative. She is given the choice – marry a citizen of this country and then you can both return to Great Britain. Otherwise, we will put you to work right here in the village. The local police are often bribed should the girl seek help.
A couple of girls who were in this situation, were able to contact friends back in Britain via the internet. With help, they contacted the Albert Kennedy Trust, a charity which helps vulnerable LGBT teenagers seek refuge.
Before leaving the country, young women and women, need to provide details of their parent’s names, the British address, and the date on the ticket that states their return. This should be given to several confidents: teacher, employer, local clergy person, the local LGBT community – the more people that are informed the better chances for a possible victim.
My suggestions: I am not living in Great Britain, but the airports should be plastered with big billboards/signs/posters that state it is a crime to leave a child in a foreign country without letting the local British police be aware of the situation. And a heavy fine/jail for abandoned and forced marriages of their children.
Schools need to leave pamphlets available for young people in libraries. Public libraries need to have these pamphlets, too. Local clergy need to speak out about forced marriages – stating this is not the way of their specific religion.
Airlines: If the airline finds that the family does not include a young family member, then they should not board and the British Embassy should be involved.
Here is more from a Canadian government source, but it is applicable
While abroad you can email for help at email@example.com or call the Emergency Operations Centre if in North America at 1-800-267-6788 or call collect from anywhere in the world at 1-613-996-8885.
In the USA if you are facing or fleeing a forced marriage, or know someone who is, please visit preventforcedmarriage.orgto get help.
preferably before you leave:
- your contact information abroad, including the address where you will be staying and the names of those with whom you will be staying, as well as their relationship to you
- a photocopy of your passport photo page and birth certificate
- a recent photograph of yourself
- your itinerary, there and back (anticipated travel details, flight information, return date) and names of people travelling with you
- try to bring a mobile device where you can contact your Embassy or friends back home.