I have been wondering about the issue of Forced Marriage in Canada in light of efforts by in the UK to combat this repugnant practice. Let’s look at at some facts regarding the make-up of the UK’s case load. The UK’s Forced Marriage Unit records that “65 percent of its cases involved Pakistani nationals and 25 percent involved Bangladeshi nationals“. In other words 85% of it’s total case load. In an article published in the Montreal Gazette in June of this year the FMU reports that “46 per cent of the nearly 600 cases of forced marriage it dealt with between January and May this year involved Pakistani nationals” alone.
Pakistan and Bangladesh are Muslim nations and while other cultures do engage in the practice of forced marriage it is a safe bet to state that it is most prevalent within Islamic cultures. Which leads me to wonder at Canada’s effort to combat Forced Marriage. In my search I came across this organization; AMFM Canada- the Alliance of Multicultural Agencies Against Forced Marriage in Canada which runs the “Forced Marriage Project”.
AMFM states that their project is: “… an awareness and education initiative. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of women, girls, men and boys in Canada are affected by forced marriage; however it is an issue that has not as yet been adequately addressed in Canada. As such, we approach the issue of forced marriage from an anti-oppressive, anti-racist position, viewing it primarily as a form of violence against women, which is sometimes used to control men and boys as well, and we seek to address it along with other forms of violence and domestic abuse.