Latest modern slavery fight updates -

UK Reverses “Rescue Fees” Policy Following Outcry

  • Published on
    January 10, 2019
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Forced Marriage, Law & Policy, Rehabilitation & Liberation
Hero Banner

The UK Foreign Office announced that it would reverse its policy of charging victims of forced marriage “rescue fees” following a massive public outcry.

An investigation by The Times last week revealed that British women and girls taken abroad for forced marriages were forced to take out emergency loans from the government to cover their flights, food, and shelter. Victims’ passports were taken away until the loans were repaid.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt now admits that victims “may have endured particular suffering” from the old policy, adding that the government will write off victims’ existing loans and return their passports to them.

The BBC reports:

Mr Hunt said the Foreign Office would try to get most repatriation costs covered by imposing so-called Forced Marriage Protection Orders on the people and families who arranged the forced marriage.

But the small number who would have had to take out a loan will now have their repatriation costs paid for by the Foreign Office.

Between 2016 and 2017, 82 people were repatriated with the support of the government’s Forced Marriage Unit. Of those victims, between 8 and 12 had to take out loans.

When the Times reported the practice, MPs condemned the loans as “astonishing” and “immoral”.

“Whereas the Foreign Office rightly expects that adult Britons who receive consular assistance will, in general, pay for their own travel home, victims of forced marriage may have endured particular suffering,” explained Mr. Hunt in a letter to the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat.

“They will often have travelled abroad against their wishes, or under false pretences…Our treatment of vulnerable Britons abroad should always be guided by compassion.”


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.

Notify of
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Paulette Harvey
Paulette Harvey
5 years ago

Common sense and humanity prevail,

5 years ago

Any1 in this situ, should @ the airport, ask 4 the police 2 B called that they R being removed against their consent

Ruth Rakotomanga
Ruth Rakotomanga
5 years ago

“Between 8 and 12”? I’m surprised they don’t they know exactly how many.

Hilary Minor
Hilary Minor
5 years ago

I am so very glad to hear that the public outcry that this inhuman policy raised has had a positive effect.

Leslie Cochrane
Leslie Cochrane
5 years ago

Between 8 and 12?? Never should have happened in the first place. Also, all children traveling with people from countries that engage in forced child marriages – as well as forced marriages of young women – should be questioned by compassionate authorities, if there is suspicion – away from the adults who accompany them. Any culture/society/country that approves of this – or facilitates this – is despicable, immoral and criminal.

This week

U.N. rights chief urges end to E.U.'s support for Libyan Coast Guard

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, has called for an urgent review of the European Union's agreement with Libyan authorities to intercept and return migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Speaking at the Human Rights Council, Türk highlighted the alarming scale of “trafficking, torture, forced labor, extortion, and starvation” endured by returned migrants and asylum seekers. “It is unconscionable that people in

| Tuesday July 9, 2024

Read more