The conviction is only the second successful prosecution under the 2014 UK law against forced marriage.
A British court sentenced a woman to four and a half years in prison for forcing her 17-year-old daughter to marry in Pakistan.
The girl’s mother tricked the teenager into returning to Pakistan for a holiday, and then forced her to marry a relative who was almost twice her age, according to a BBC report.
Since legislation outlawing forced marriage was introduced in the UK in 2014, only one case has been successfully prosecuted. This case represents the first time a victim testified against her own family.
Pakistani activist Bina Shah told CNN that forced marriage is the norm 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.
“People are looking for other advantages, for example, to marry someone with a foreign passport,” she told CNN.
According to the BBC, British authorities investigated 1,200 possible forced marriages last year, and British diplomats facilitated 16 repatriations, through rescues or protection orders.
The British Pakistani population numbered 1.1 million in 2011. Around 90% of Pakistanis living in the United Kingdom are Muslim.
While arranged marriages are common among Muslim children, the Quran forbids forcing, coercing or tricking children into marriage.
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