An investigation by The Times newspaper claims that 88 women in the UK who had been forced to marry abroad attempted to block visa applications from their husbands, however the Home Office accepted almost half of them.
The newspaper says 42 visas had been issued to men despite their cases being flagged up to the Home Office by their wife or an official.
The Times 2/8/2018— The Times Pictures (@TimesPictures) August 1, 2018
Rubie Marie grew up in Wales and was taken at 15 to Bangladesh to marry a man of 30. Her uncle had a 'bidding war' for her. Photo: Andrew Fox for The Times.#thetimes #tomorrowspaperstoday #forcedmarriage @thetimes pic.twitter.com/T3RJNvm2A5
The summer months are well known to be the time when vulnerable young girls are most at risk of forced marriage and could end up being sent to another country and forced to marry a man where they are raped until they become pregnant when they return to give birth. Their husbands then attempt to join them in the UK on a family visa.
The Home Office denies that visas were granted to people despite staff knowing their wives had been forced into the marriage.
A spokesperson said: "We take our safeguarding responsibilities very seriously. If an individual refuses to act as the sponsor for a visa application then under the immigration rules, that visa should not be issued."
The Home Office are not turning a blind eye! They have a Forced Marriage Investigation Dept but sadly can't detect 100% of fraudulent Visa Applications.— Lady Elena (@LadyElenaUK) August 1, 2018
Remember, when they found out about fake Marriages, they'd visit homes unannounced to check if couples lived together. #Teens
Forced marriage is illegal in the UK and courts can issue forced marriage protection orders to protect vulnerable women and girls. Anyone found guilty of making someone marry against their will can be jailed for up to seven years.
A mother of four in Birmingham, England was recently jailed for four and a half years for tricking her daughter into thinking she was going to Pakistan on holiday where she was instead forced to marry a relative.
Guilty verdict — forced marriage https://t.co/hVey31q1hZ— Birmingham Live (@birmingham_live) May 22, 2018
According to recent figures released by Britain's Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) reveals there were nearly 1,200 cases of forced marriage in 2017.