The Foreign Secretary has changed policy to charge victims with immediate effect.
The Foreign Secretary has confirmed that Victims of forced marriage will no longer have to meet the cost of being repatriated when helped by the Forced Marriage Unit. The Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has confirmed the change of policy in a letter to Tom Tugendhat, the Chair of the House of Commons Foreign affairs Committee.
The the print and online media had reported that British victims of forced marriages overseas were required by the Foreign Office to pay the costs of their rescue. This caused an uproar amongst campaigners against Forced Marriage and the general public. Prior to this change of policy, UK officials would help them to access their own funds, and contact friends, family or organisations that could assist them. If, however, they could not meet the costs of flights, food and shelter, they were asked to sign emergency loan agreements before returning home.
In his letter of 8 January Mr Hunt acknowledged that forced marriage victims will often have travelled abroad against their wishes, or under false pretences and “may have endured particular suffering”. The Government has agreed that those victims who have outstanding loans will have no further cost fall to them. Their passports will be unblocked.
The Government will continue to seek payment of any costs from the perpetrators by means of Forced Marriage Protection Orders.
If you have been affected by or alleged of Forced Marriage, contact Amin Haque Solicitors on 0161 637 8588.