This is truly a shocking piece of news, but it’s true that an increasing number of forced marriages are being conducted over Skype. According to two charities Imams have been conducting Internet marriage ceremonies or phone marriage for British girls as young as 11.
Forced Internet Marriage Scandal Unearthed
The Mosque leaders have been carrying out these arranged marriages by conducting the wedding ceremonies over the Internet, with the girls’ new husbands. Post that the new husband gets to apply for a Visa to come and join them in the UK.
This shocking practice was unearthed by Freedom, which is a UK-based charity firm and is campaigning against the scourge of forced marriage.
11-Year-Old Girl Married to 25-Year-Old Man
One case revealed by Freedom’s founder Aneeta Prem, where an 11-year-old girl from London was married on Skype to a 25-year-old man in Bangladesh.
The girl didn’t understand the meaning of the Skype call at that point of time. Post reading a book about forced marriage by Prem which was a kind of eye opener for her she contacted Freedom. This book was given to her brother at his school.
According to Aneeta Prem
“As soon as she was old enough the family were planning to take her out to consummate the marriage,” further she added “She had been pulled out of school and was being taught to be a housewife”
Another cases which were found were, of a 13-year-old girl who told she was forced to marry an 18-year-old Iranian over a video call on Skype. Also a 17-year-old boy, who was also married on Skype post his family found about his white girlfriend.
Internet Marriage is Instantaneous and less likely to get caught
1. Very Few Cases have come into light
According to Prem, till now only a handful number of internet marriage cases have come to light. But the number of such marriages are increasing fast. They have proven out to be attractive to the traditional Islamic families, the reason is that such internet marriages are instantaneous and are very less likely to get caught.
2. Skype marriages only involve Muslim girls
Forced Internet marriage is something that affected several communities in Britain. But if we talk about Skype marriages specifically, then it had proved to involve Muslim girls only. Other faiths demand the brides and grooms to be physically present together during the wedding ceremony.
Forced Marriage is illegal in Britain
In 2014 Britain had made forced marriage an illegal practice. It is illegal under the UK law and the Home Office have said that the perpetrators could be prosecuted.
According to a spokesperson- “Forced marriage is an abhorrent practice which is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated in the UK, regardless of how it takes place,”
Marriage by Phone
“The quickest way to marry someone off is not going to be taking them out to Pakistan, India, or wherever, the quickest way to get them into marriage is going to be over the phone.”
1. Another British charity called Karma Nirvana, which campaigns against forced marriage, said that it had received calls to its helpline from girls who had been forced to married off over the phone.
2. The girls often do not understand that the phone call is a marriage ceremony, they get to know it later when their family tells them.
3. Karma Nirvana founder Jasvinder Sanghera said: “Some victims have contacted us and said: ‘I’ve been married over the phone because my family think that I’m shaming them,'”
Thousands of British girls under the age of 18 are being forced into marriage every year, says reports. The Britain’s Forced Marriage Unit has also confirmed that it had come across cases of forced marriage being conducted by Skype.