Tackling Forced Marriage

Margot strongly believes that preventing violence against women, forced marriage and honour-based violence should be high on the agenda for local schools, police and Dudley Council. She has also contributed evidence to the Sharia law review, started by the then Home Secretary, Theresa May. Following a particularly difficult case in Stourbridge, Margot met Mrs May in November 2014 to talk about forced marriage and Sharia divorce in the UK.

Most recently, in late 2016, Margot hosted a meeting with Dudley Council, West Midlands Police, the Soroptimists, Pedmore Technology College and the charity Karma Nirvana to hear about work already taking place in Stourbridge to tackle these issues. Margot has continued to support Karma Nirvana, which provides advice to young girls at risk of forced marriage and honour based violence. She has also championed Karma Nirvana’s ‘Spoon Campaign’.

‘The Spoon Campaign’ is inspired by the story of a young girl who had been escorted to the Airport by family members to be taken to Pakistan to marry against her wishes. The girl was armed with the advice of one of Karma Nirvana’s advisories, who told her to hide a spoon under her clothing in order to be taken to a private room after failing to pass through security.

As a result of this work, Dudley Council have included Karma Nirvana literature and contact details on staff briefing’s for those who may be in a position to identify this issue. West Midlands Police also ran operations at Birmingham Airport to identify those at risk of being taken out of the country for these marriages. These operations were successful in identifying and preventing forced marriage.

Margot will continue to work with Karma Nirvana raising awareness on this issue, and aims to ensure all schools in the constituency can deal with such crimes if they arise. Margot will also continue to work with West Midlands Police and Dudley Council to champion the cause and to tackle this all too often hidden crime.