Forced marriage victims charged £700 to be rescued in 'racist' government policy

The Tory government has prompted outrage by billing British forced marriage victims hundreds of pounds for their own rescue.
The policy forced vulnerable women to pay £740 a head to come back to the UK from imprisonment in Somalia, The Times revealed.
Victims whose families have sent them abroad have to either pay for the price of plane tickets, basic food and shelter themselves or, if they are over 18, take out emergency loans.
Labour MP David Lammy suggested the policy was racist. He said: "A white woman who had been kidnapped, sold into slavery and raped would never have been asked to pay for her freedom." 
In total 82 forced marriage victims were repatriated in 2016 and 2017, the newspaper found.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt today said he would act over the "immoral" and "bizarre" policy after MPs demanded a formal investigation.
It comes despite Theresa May describing forced marriage as a "terrible practice" and Home Secretary Sajid Javid saying it is "despicable, inhumane (and) uncivilised".

The Foreign Office said it has an obligation to recover money spent on repatriating victims when public money is involved, such as the cost of a flight back to the UK.
But one 24-year-old victim said: “I’ve been put up in a B&B and I’m worried I’ll be homeless.
"I can’t ask my family for help because of what I was put through.
"You can’t work without a passport. I called one of the women from the Foreign Office numerous times but she said I had to pay back the money.”
Tory MP Tom Tugendhat said the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, which he chairs, will investigate.

Yvette Cooper, chairwoman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, added: "Completely appalled by this. Forced marriage is slavery.
"For government to make victims pay for their freedom is immoral. Ministers need to put this right fast."
Tory MP Bob Seely tweeted: "This sounds bizarre and, if accurate, quite wrong.
"This should be a critical part of our global fight against modern slavery and, surely forced marriage is a form of that, especially if under-age or near under-age victims are involved."
Labour shadow minister Karl Turner tweeted simply: "WTAF!"
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said embassies and other bodies "need to use discretion" because "we should always behave with compassion and humanity".
But he said he was unaware of the finer details - which emerged while he travelled to Singapore - saying: "I want to get to the bottom of this particular issue."

The Foreign Office said on Wednesday that whenever it is asked to help people return to the UK it works with them to access their own funds, or help them contact friends, family or organisations that can cover the costs of repatriation.
"However, many of the victims who the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) help are vulnerable, and when offering any type of support their safety is our primary concern," a spokeswoman said.
"In very exceptional circumstances, including in cases of forced marriage overseas, we can provide an emergency loan to help someone return home.
"We recognise that an emergency loan can help remove a distressed or vulnerable person from risk when they have no other options, but as they are from public funds we have an obligation to recover the money in due course."
The FMU also provides funding for safe houses and NGOs overseas and in the UK to help victims of forced marriage get to a place of safety as soon as possible.
"We do not charge British nationals for this service and work with organisations in the UK to support them on return," the spokeswoman said.
The Foreign Office said the UK is a "world-leader in the fight to tackle the brutal practice of forced marriage, with our joint Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office Forced Marriage Unit leading efforts to combat it both at home and abroad".
Forced marriage victims charged £700 to be rescued in 'racist' government policy Forced marriage victims charged £700 to be rescued in 'racist' government policy Reviewed by Your Destination on January 02, 2019 Rating: 5

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