Thanks to hidden spoon in their underwear and alarm systems in airports, teenage girls of Asian descent in Britain are escaping forced marriages.
Karma Nirvana, a charity based in Derby, disclosed the trick used by a growing number of female teenage migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India to be separated from their parents who will escort them to their fixed marriage in other countries.
The Forced Marriage Unit of Britain's Foreign Office received 400 incidents of spoons hidden in underwear triggering alarm at the airport from June to August 2012. Those summer months are popular period for parents to force their young daughters to marry since it is school holiday and their children's absence from school would hardly be noticed.
Karma Nirvana said it receives an average of 600 calls monthly from female teenagers who seek advice how they could escape their fate. Karma advises them to hide a spoon in their underwear. The charity was established by Jasvinder Sanghera whose Sikh family disowned her when she refused to agree to be married at 16 to a man in India her family had pre-arranged her marriage.
"When they go through security, it will highlight this object in a private area and, if 16 or over, they will be taken to a safe space where they have that one last opportunity to disclose they're being forced to marry," The Telegraph quoted Natasha Rattu, the spokesperson of Karma Nirvana.
The Forced Marriage Unit handles about 1,500 such cases a year, of which almost 50 per cent are teenage girls from the three South Asian nations.
Among the red flags that trigger security personnel at the London Heathrow, Liverpool and Glasgow Airports that the outbound teens are headed for a forced marriage are one-way tickets, the youthful age of the traveler and their demeanor.
Anup Manota, project manager of Karma Nirvana, explained that many victims of forced marriages have been promised to marry someone else from birth or even while the mother is pregnant in exchange for business or land. And the family honour causes the daughter or even son to be obliged to accept this South Asian tradition or face violence or being shunned by family members.
One such victim, Sameem Ali, was forced to marry in Pakistan when she was 13 and became pregnant at 14. She returned to Britain and is now a Manchester city councilor.
Another victim disclosed that her father forced her to marry a man in India who raped and abused her for eight and a half year until she escaped.
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