A mother who coerced her teenage daughter to wed a man who raped and impregnated her as a 13-year-old is the first woman jailed in the UK under forced marriage laws.
The Birmingham mother-of-four manipulated her then 17-year-old daughter to marry her new husband’s nephew, who had raped and taken her virginity four years earlier.
The woman, who cannot be named, was jailed for four-and-a-half years at Birmingham Crown Court.
The ‘vulnerable’ youngster was flown to Pakistan under the pretence of a family holiday to wed the rapist, 16 years her senior.
Disturbing: Jurors at Birmingham Crown Court (pictured above) were told how the mother tricked her daughter into travelling to Pakistan then forced her to marry her relative
Her mother orchestrated the marriage and then threatened her daughter, who is now 19, with black magic if she dared to speak out.
Judge Patrick Thomas, QC, said he believed the daughter ‘was sold for her passport’.
Passing sentence, he said: ‘I think it is highly likely that the reward for him entering into the marriage with your daughter was to be easier access to entry to this country.’
INCREASE IN YOUNG PEOPLE FORCED INTO ARRANGED MARRIAGES
According to shocking statistics from the national charity Childline, there has been a 12 per cent increase in young people being forced into marriage.
Today’s case is the first time a forced marriage case of this kind has been successfully prosecuted in a criminal court in England, with the mother convicted of actively deceiving the girl in order to convince her to travel.
The new offence of forced marriage came into effect on in June 2014, but prosecutions have been rare.
In June 2015, a man was jailed at Merthyr Crown Court for offences including forced marriage, while there is at least one other live case in the courts.
Since being introduced in 2008, more than 1,500 forced marriage protection orders have also been made, preventing people from being forced to wed and assisting in repatriating victims.
The government’s Forced Marriage Unit received 172 calls and emails from people in the West Midlands over 2017.
This is actually a reduction in numbers as there were 202 similar cases the year before.
But the Home Office says this does not reflect the full scale of the problem as many people are too frightened to report what is happening.
Last year, the charity Karma Nirvana worked on 13,000 cases which dwarfs the size of the number reported by the FMU.
The group supports victims of honour crimes and forced marriage be they women, men or children from Britain or abroad.
The figures show:
*Girls as young as 13 have contacted Childline about being forced into marriage, with 205 counselling sessions on the issue in 2016/17 – a 12 per cent increase from 2015/16
*There were 6,099 visits to the Childline forced marriage page in the same year
*There have been just two convictions for forced marriage in the UK.
Adults can call the NSPCC Helpline in confidence, 24/7, on 0808 800 5000 while Childline is there for young people on 0800 1111 or via www.childline.org.uk.
The two-week trial heard that the girl’s pregnancy was confirmed by a GP in Birmingham and the city council’s children’s services began, and soon after terminated, an investigation after speaking to the defendant.
After undergoing an abortion, the girl went ‘off the rails’ and turned to drugs and drink. She was sexually exploited by men and often went to Coventry for hotel room liaisons.
Judge Thomas said the marriage plan was concocted partly because the mother felt her daughter was bringing shame on her family.
He said: ‘Her behaviour was such as to worry any parent, but in your case I think the real issue was the shame her behaviour was bringing, and would continue to bring, upon you and your family.
‘I have no doubt that you then arranged a marriage with the man, as you knew, had raped her when she was 13.’
The teenager was under the voluntary care of Birmingham Children’s Services when the mum revealed plans to take her daughter to Pakistan for a purported family holiday in 2016.
Despite social workers expressing concerns to superiors, the trip was allowed and the girl’s passport handed over to the mum.
Christopher Gibbons, defending, accused social services of a ‘systems failure’, while Judge Thomas said: ‘Despite their own views and endeavours, higher authority in the social services department decided not to make her secure by means of a court order of some kind.’
The girl was taken to Pakistan where the marriage plan became apparent. When she refused to wed the 33-year-old, her mother threatened to rip up her passport.
Judge Thomas said: ‘It takes no effort of imagination to understand the terror of a young woman for whom the destruction of her identity documents would seem to mean the loss of any way of proving she had any right to protection.’
A statement read out in court by Deborah Gould, prosecuting, on behalf of the victim, glimpsed at her trauma of being stranded in Pakistan.
It read: ‘My mum ditched me, why didn’t she take me home?
‘I wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t sleep, I felt totally alone. I thought if that is actually my mum, why would she do that to me? I wanted to feel love and affection but I felt that I was a bad person.’
She added: ‘I think about every other young girl, no-one owns up because they say ‘it’s my mum or dad’.
‘My message to other young girls is keep yourself safe. If you think your parents might do something, don’t do it, tell them to their face.’
The defendant, who was found guilty of two counts of forced marriage, and one count of perjury, was emotionless as she was sent to prison.
Judge Thomas told her: ‘You have sought to blame your daughter for everything, and yourself accepted responsibility for nothing.
‘It is in particular the sense of abandonment by the mother she loved and thought loved her that comes through from what she said.’
He added: ‘It must not be overlooked that, almost by definition, to enter into a forced marriage is to be coerced into a situation where multiple rapes are likely.
‘To enter into a forced marriage is to be coerced into a situation where one’s control over one’s own life may be completely lost.’