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News ->Forced Marriage Unit launched Ad Campaign

(16 March 2006)

Meera SyalThe Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) today launched a national publicity campaign on forced marriage. The campaign supported by actors Meera Syal and Ameet Chana involves a series of radio and press adverts, TV fillers and poster campaigns. It aims to increase awareness of the issues surrounding forced marriage. It will highlight the difference between forced and arranged marriage, and make clear that forced marriage is an abuse of human rights and a form of domestic violence.

The campaign will also publicise the support available to young people affected by forced marriage and encourage them to seek help. It will highlight the damaging emotional consequences to families and the crimes involved in forcing someone into marriage.

Home Office Minister, Rt Hon Baroness Scotland QC, said: "Forced marriage affects children, teenagers and adults from all races and religions, including Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims and Sikhs. And it is not solely an issue facing Asian communities. We deal with cases in the Middle East, Western Balkans and Africa.

"Forced marriage is a form of domestic violence and a human rights abuse. The victims often face emotional and physical abuse. We are determined to help young people at risk and protect their right to choose whom they marry."

Supporting the campaign celebrated author and actress Meera Syal said: "This is an extremely important campaign for all members of the community - young and old. For young people, they need to know that there is help out there and that it is okay to ask for help. And we want the older generations to know that we respect their culture, tradition and we understand that arranged marriages have a place in society. But there is a vast difference between an arranged and a forced marriage...consent."

Former Eastenders star Ameet Chana continued: "I, probably like most people believed that only women were affected and forced into marriage, but I was amazed to find that 15% of the cases that are currently reported to the Unit are men...and I bet that the numbers are far greater, but it's hard for men to come forward and admit they need help and are being forced into a situation like this. This campaign is key to reassuring them that they are not alone and help is available."

The Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office launched the joint Forced Marriage Unit on 26 January 2005. The unit leads on policy, outreach work and projects to raise awareness and provide support to survivors of forced marriage, as well as providing practical support and information to people at risk of being forced into marriage. The Forced Marriage Unit can be contacted by phone on 020 7008 0151 or via email at


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