A government commissioned study, Forced Marriage: National Learning through a Case Study of Luton, has warned that thousands more British woman than previously estimated could be at risk of forced marriage.
The Government's Forced Marriage Unit deals with 300 cases a year, however the author of the report, Dr Nazia Khanum, said the true figure could be up to 4,000.
The forced marriage unit deal with 300 hardcore cases a year," said Dr Khanum. "If you follow the examples of rape and domestic violence, where only 10 per cent to 12 per cent of cases are reported, it's a reasonable assumption that it is the tip of the iceberg.
"Forced marriage has nothing to do with religion - it is a part of a patriarchal system where parents believe they know what is best for their children," she said.
The study comes after it was revealed earlier this month that 33 girls were missing from schools in Bradford despite efforts to locate them. It is feared they have been pressured into forced marriages.