Forced marriage - Right to Choose
As the school summer holidays approach, the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office is working to raise awareness of forced
marriage with the launch of its Right to Choose campaign.
Research shows that summer holidays are the peak time for young
people to be taken overseas and forced into a marriage against
their will so the office has produced a series of hard-hitting
films to encourage teenagers to speak out if they think they are at
Alistair Burt, Foreign & Commonwealth Office Minister,
said: “Forced marriage should not be tolerated. Young
people have the right to choose whether to marry, who to marry, and
In some cases, young people are taken on what they believe to be a
family trip abroad only to find a marriage has been planned. Once
abroad, victims find themselves even more isolated and unable to
The three Right to Choose films aim to raise awareness of the
risks and highlight the help available from the Forced Marriage
Unit helpline on (+44) 020 7008 1500.
The films stress that while it might be difficult for a young
person to admit they are at risk, forced marriage can and does
Alistair Burt, Foreign & Commonwealth Office Minister, said:
"Anybody worried that they or a friend are at risk of being forced
into marriage abroad should seek advice before it’s too late.
There may be only one chance to save yourself or someone else from
a life they did not choose.”
Lynne Featherstone, Home Office Minister, said: “Forcing
someone into marriage is completely unacceptable, that is why the
government is making it a crime.
“Everyone should have the right to make their own choices about
their relationships and their future. But making it illegal is
not enough on its own, so we are supporting work to protect
victims. The Right to Choose campaign is another vital part
of this and will help raise awareness of the damage being forced
into marriage can do.”
Amy Cumming, Joint Head of the Forced Marriage Unit, said:
“Every day in the unit we see the devastating impact forced
marriage has on individuals. Many of the victims who contact
us have experienced horrendous sexual and physical
violence. They endure intense pressure in many forms -
whether emotional, financial or otherwise. Forced marriage
affects many communities and cultures.
“I’m strongly urging people to back the Right to Choose
campaign: don’t leave it too late - call our helpline and get
The Forced Marriage Unit helpline (+44) (0)20 7008 0151 is
totally confidential. It is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to
Friday. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org. For out of hours
emergency advice, call (+44) (0)20 7008 1500 and ask for the
Foreign & Commonwealth Office Global Response Centre.