London, July 3 (ANI): Forced marriages in the Indian and Pakistani communities in Britain are on the rise, according to a Government report.
The Sydney Morning Herald, quotes the Forced Marriage Unit as saying that over the past year the number of calls from men to the unit increased by 65 per cent, from 134 in 2008 to 220 in 2009.
Experts believe the figures are only the tip of the iceberg, as the issue tends to be under-reported for both gays and bi-sexuals.
According to the unit, most victims are aged from 15 to 24. However, recently it has received call from a 62-year-old widower, whose family was trying to force him to marry a 32-year-old woman, 35 to get rid of him. Cases also include an under aged man taken to Pakistan and forcibly engaged to his 5-year-old cousin.
The unit received another shocking call from an Indian origin man in Leicester complaining that his family had locked him up in his bedroom after discovering he was gay and threatened to take him to India and either kill or abandon him there.
"We received a call recently from a young man taken to Pakistan. He didn't know he was going to be married, and when he refused, he was locked in a room. Every day his father came in to beat him. We're talking broken legs and sexual abuse," a spokesman of the unit, said.
In 2009, the joint British Home Office/Foreign Office body registered 1682 forced marriages were reported. Of those, 14 per cent were men, who were forced into a union. But the unit believes the true figure may be as high as one in five.
"This kind of abuse must not be tolerated," the paper quoted the Equalities Minister, Lynne Featherstone, as saying. (ANI)