According to the Forced Marriage Unit, the overall number of forced marriage cases rose has by 47 per cent in 2018 compared to the year before.
These figures revealed that there were 1,764 cases of forced marriages, with 297 of the cases being male victims, the highest number reported in seven years.
Forced marriages are commonly associated with vulnerable young women suffering at the hands of domineering male relatives, but the statistics indicate it is a significant problem in Britain for young males too.
And while most cases in 2018 involved a UK citizen being taken to a foreign country or marrying a foreign national, seven per cent of the latest cases were entirely domestic-based.
In the UK, the majority of forced marriage cases come from a South Asian background, however, new statistics show an increase of people from a Romanian background reporting the crime.
The country with the highest number of cases of forced marriage was Pakistan with 769, or 44 per cent of all cases, followed by Bangladesh with 157 cases.
Forced marriages have only been criminalised since 2014, and while men are now beginning to find their voices, campaigners insist the real proportion of male cases are much higher.
Natasha Rattu, Executive Director of charity Karma Nirvana, said she hears from victims of honour-based abuse and forced marriages almost every day.
In a statement, the Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, Victoria Atkins, said forced marriages were an “abhorrent crime”, and could “mark the start of years of abuse”.
Ms Atkins said: “In 2018, the Forced Marriage Unit provided support to more victims than ever before. We will continue to raise awareness of forced marriage so that all those affected by it know where they can go for support.”
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