MEP calls for Euro-wide action to outlaw forced marriages

A Euro-MP is called for Europe-wide action to tackle forced marriages which affects 400 youngsters a year in Britain alone.

Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London, spoke after a special European Parliament film screening today of ‘Shame Travels’, the story of a woman’s attempt to contact a sister she was not allowed to meet following a decade long-feud over forced marriage.

“To force someone into an unwanted sexual relationship is an affront to human rights,” said the MEP. “Forced marriage is abuse and should be recognised in every EU country as a criminal offence.”

The film is the true story of Jasvinder Sanghera, who fled from home to escape being sent to India to marry a much older man who she had never met. Her refusal to marry at 16 led her mother to disown her.

Jasvinder is today the founder of Karma Nirvana, a charity helping young women escape forced marriage.


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The UK government currently rescues around 400 British-born Asians every year who are being forced into marriage and helps to bring them back to Britain. One-in-three are under 17.

Jean Lambert is calling for an approach across the EU and believes that a network of organisations like Karma Nirvana could be valuable in changing attitudes in some communities where forced marriage is acceptable.

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