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More men 'forced into marriage'

Ministers have urged greater vigilance about British men being forced into marriage after a surge in reported cases over the past year.

The number of contacts with the Government's Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) concerning male victims increased from 134 in 2008 to 220 in 2009, a rise of 65%.

But officials believe the figures are still only "the tip of an iceberg" as the problem is under-reported concerning both sexes.

Men accounted for just 14% of the total number of forced marriage cases, numbering 1,682, referred to the FMU last year.

It is estimated that in reality there are more like 10,000 incidents of forced marriage involving British nationals each year and that up to 20% are men.

The large majority of cases involve families from south Asia, particularly Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

Victims are often locked up, subjected to physical and sexual violence and forcibly removed to other countries if they refuse to comply with their families' wishes.

Men in particular frequently face being forced to marry because their families refuse to accept their homosexuality. Other cases can revolve around property issues, securing visas or other family expectations.

Most victims are aged between 15 and 24.

But the FMU, a joint unit of the Foreign Office and Home Office, is concerned that many people fail to realise that it is an issue that even affects men.

( Marriage Unit


From Belfast Telegraph