A West Midlands Police officer has warned about the dangers some gay people face of being made to engage in forced marriages.
Speaking to the Independent, Detective Sergeant Trudy Gittins, who leads on forced marriage, said: “One of the big focuses for us is the LGBT community. It’s a real risk in some cultures to be outed or come out as gay if your family doesn’t approve.
“That can be a huge risk for forced marriage, and what you also find is sham marriages, where gay people marry each other to placate the family but live their lives.”
Detective Sergeant Gittins added that some families believe in ‘corrective rape’, in which a gay victim is made to have sex with someone of the opposite gender, the hope being that it will change their sexuality.
Although a staggering 1,764 potential forced marriages were investigated last year, the Independent reports that police believe the figure doesn’t even ‘scratch the surface’ of the true number. This is because in many cases victims don’t even realise the practice is a crime, or are not willing or able to report relatives.
Detective Sergeant Gittins told the Independent that West Midlands Police investigates around two alleged force marriages per month.
Last year, West Midlands Police became the first police force in England to secure a conviction under forced marriage legislation, when a mother was jailed for forcing her daughter to marry in Pakistan after whisking her away on the pretence of a family holiday.
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