There has been a dramatic rise in forced marriages involving male victims, recent statistics from the Home Office show.
The Forced Marriage Unit has received more than 220 emails and calls to its hotlines regarding forced marriages that involved male victims in 2009, a 65% increase on 2008 figures. It is estimated that there are more than 10,000 incidents of forced marriage involving British nationals each year, of which up to 20% are men.
Recent studies show that forced marriage is a growing problem for men as well as women. Men are forced into marriage for various reasons, a main reason being that the victims family may beleive they are homosexual, which is rejected in some religions where forced marriage is common. By forcing marriage, this can protect a families reputation or secure visas. The majority of cases involve families from South Asia, particularly Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
Overall, 14% of all forced marriage cases involve men, compared to 86% with women.
Last November, new powers that protect those at risk of forced marriage came into force in the form of protection orders. These give local authorities the power to seek a protection order for vulnerable adults and children without first having to seek leave of the court.
James Brokenshire, minister for crime prevention said, "Forced marriage is a form of domestic abuse and will not be tolerated.
"These figures are proof that both men and women are victims of forced marriage so it's vitally important that we encourage those who work with young people to contact the forced marriage unit if they have any concerns, and that victims who have been affected come forward and get the help they need."