A Birmingham mother has been convicted of forcing her teenage daughter to marry a man in Pakistan in the first successful prosecution of its kind in England.
Sky News reports that the mother, who is in her 40s but cannot be named to protect her daughter’s identity, tricked the girl into travelling to Pakistan for what she thought was a family holiday in 2016.
Despite the girl’s tearful objections, she was forced to marry the man. She was told by her mother that there was no choice and it was a “cultural matter”.
The mother had also threatened to burn the girl’s passport to prevent her from being able to return home.
But the girl was able to alert friends back in the UK. They told Birmingham City Council’s children’s services and West Midlands Police, who asked the victim’s mother to come back to Britain.
The mother returned and appeared in court, where she claimed under oath that her daughter had not been married.
Eventually, encouraged by her friends and other family members, the girl was able to tell the truth about what had happened and return to the UK.
The mother was arrested in January last year. After a three-week trial, she was convicted of deceiving the victim into travelling abroad to enter into a false marriage.
She was also convicted of perjury and will be sentenced on 23 May.
Forced marriage became an offence in 2014 but prosecution is difficult, especially because it often relies on family members testifying against each other.