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.
Since you are here…
…we’d like to have one more word with you. We are excited to report that Aleteia’s readership is growing at a rapid rate, world-wide! Our team proves its mission every day by providing high-quality content that informs and inspires a Christian life. But quality journalism has a cost and it’s more than ads can cover. We want our articles to be accessible to everyone, free of charge, but we need your help. To continue our efforts to nourish and inspire our Catholic family, your support is invaluable. Become an Aleteia Patron today for as little as $3 a month. May we count on you?