Almost 600 people have come forward in the past five months to raise the alarm over fears they are about to be forced to marry against their will, it emerged last night as David Cameron unveiled plans to make it a crime.
By John Bingham, Social Affairs Editor
6:00AM BST 08 Jun 2012
The Home Office released details of the caseload of the Government’s dedicated Forced Marriage Unit showing that it has been handling around 120 cases a month.
The figures suggest a rise in the number children under threat of forced marriage, with 14 per cent of those dealt with aged under 15, compared with 10 per cent last year.
There was also a handful of homosexual people fearing they are being forced into a marriage and 25 of those who came forward were disabled, some severely.
But the figures are thought to be the tip of the iceberg with some estimates suggesting the real instance of forced marriage could be up to five times that amount.
Mr Cameron and Theresa May, the Home Secretary, are announcing plans to make forced marriage a crime today after rejecting claims that banning the practice would simply drive it underground.