To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of its emergency loan policy on economically vulnerable British citizens seeking to leave forced marriages abroad; and if he will make a statement.
The UK is a world-leader in the fight to tackle out the brutal practice of forced marriage, with our joint Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office Forced Marriage Unit which leads efforts to combat it both at home and abroad. This joint unit was established in 2005 because the Government of the day recognised that British citizens who are forced into marriage constituted a category of exceptionally vulnerable people in need of specific help.
After careful consideration, the Foreign Sectetary and I have decided that victims of forced marriage who are helped to return to the UK by the Forced Marriage Unit will no longer be asked to take out a loan for their repatriation costs.
From now on, none of those who are assisted by the Forced Marriage Unit - and would previously have been offered a loan - will have to cover the costs of their repatriation. Where possible, the Government will continue to seek to ensure the costs fall on the perpetrators by means of Forced Marriage Protection Orders (FMPOs).