U.K. forced marriage unit “not working well” says new report - FreedomUnited.org

U.K. forced marriage unit “not working well” says new report

  • Published on
    April 26, 2023
  • Written by:
    Miriam Karmali
  • Category:
    Forced Marriage
Hero Banner

According to a new report, the U.K.’s forced marriage unit is limited in its effectiveness to tackle forced marriage as a result of underfunding and being “overly focused on Muslim families”. 

Colin Bloom, the government’s faith advisor, has called for “root-and-branch reform” outlining how poor leadership, a lack of resources and the fact that forced and coercive marriage often occurs in faith-based communities is contributing to an inability to meaningfully tackle the issue.

Report may cause controversy

The 165-page report seeks to praise the work of faith groups and address key aspects of government policy as it relates to religious groups. However, the report’s call on government ministers to do more to tackle forced marriage within faith groups is expected to receive backlash.

From the 21,000 responses collected to inform this report, making it one of the government’s biggest evidence-gathering exercise ever undertaken, Bloom establishes that forced marriage is not just present in Muslim communities but across other religious communities too and called for a broader approach. 

Importantly, the report makes a clear distinction between Islam and Islamist extremism and warned of far-right groups using Christian iconography to entrench ideals of ethno-nationalism that can result in threatening behavior.

The Guardian reports:

Bloom will advise ministers to be clear that only a tiny minority of Muslims constitute any kind of threat to Britain.

“The government needs to make the distinction between Islamist extremism and Islam,” he said. “The vast majority of victims of Islamist extremism are Muslims themselves.”

What needs to change to tackle forced marriage

Bloom further calls for greater financial investment into the forced marriage unit and a need for it to be responsible to just one government department. Currently, the unit is responsible to both the Home Office and the Foreign Office.

He said, “The forced marriage unit is not working well. It is under-resourced and poorly led, which is the fault of politicians rather than the civil servants who work for it.” 

A further concern raised in the report focuses on how gay people are forced into marriage. This type of abuse is often treated as a form of conversion therapy that has devastating consequences. In 2013, a gay Sikh man murdered his wife six months after they were forced to marry. 

Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

1 Comment
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
joyce shiffrin
joyce shiffrin
1 month ago

I agree 100% that forced marriages EVERYWHERE must be abolished for GOOD as ALL human beings must be free to make choices in EVERY part of their lives for as long as they live for ALWAYS!!!

This week

Migrant workers jailed in Qatar over demands for owed wages

Five months on from the World Cup final, migrant workers continue to report exploitative labor practices and mistreatment at the hands of Qatari authorities. Three former security guards have been jailed in Qatar for four months following their repeated requests for unpaid wages from their employer, Stark Security Services. Though lauded by FIFA as an opportunity to improve Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers, workers who toiled to make the world’s

| Friday May 26, 2023

Read more