Because she’s got a passport, he can get a visa

The familiar pretty story:

Seventeen-year-old Jessie faced being forced into marriage to her
40-year-old cousin in Bangladesh. She begged the British Consulate in Dhaka for help and officials stepped in. She is just one of an estimated tens of thousands of British women at risk of being forced into marriage.

Alan Morrison, the British Consul in Bangladesh, says his team meet a girl
like Jessie every week.

Born in Britain but living in rural Bangladesh and promised in marriage to a
much older man.

Jessie managed to call the consulate when her father was at evening prayers.

“She told them she was desperate not to marry but did not have any money and
was not allowed to look after her own passport,” said Mr Morrison.

Jessie had been promised to her cousin at the age of 11. She was due to turn
18 next month so the consul decided to act immediately.

In these circumstances, when you’ve got a British girl, often she’s seen as a
commodity,” explained Mr Morrison. “Because she’s got a passport, he can get a visa, and work in the UK. We’re seeing a generational strategy to emigrate to
the UK.”

And she’s just a thing to be used. And there are tens of thousands like her; she was rescued but most are not.



  1. F says

    So, I expect they don’t check up on visa candidates of this nature, then. While this would be somewhat after the fact, it could still offer these women a way out.

    I try to live my life without succumbing to a lot of hate. So far, I’m wildly unsuccessful.

  2. says

    One thing we could do is to change our immigration policy.
    This tactic works on various ways and always hits women.
    It’s the girls with the EU passports that are forced into marriage.
    It’s the women who meet “the love of their lives” on a holiday only to find out later that their love put on an elaborated act so they could get access to the EU (in Europe you can see how this started mostly after we “sealed” our borders against Northern-African immigrants)
    It’s the mail-order brides who have to support their families in Asia with the pocket money their European husbands give them and who would have to leave again if they dared to leave their husbands, making them slaves to them.
    But our fear of immigrants is much reater than our compassion for women and girls.

  3. says

    It’s so sad. I hope she’s able to build a better life for herself. This is just one subset of a larger issue, which is arranged marriages in general. Unless someone goes to authorities like this girl did, it’s difficult to address legally. How do you tell the difference between a couple who are getting married impulsively and a couple who are being forced, when in both cases, the people wouldn’t know each other very well? How to differentiate between the people who really did fall in love with someone from a different country while on a trip there and the people who are being forced into a marriage?

    Then, of course, there are the people who will make the argument that they actually “chose” to have an arranged marriage (i.e. chose to go along with the family tradition of having parents pick out their spouse). I’ve heard people make this argument and, although I know people who have had arranged or pseudo-arranged (i.e. they got to know each other a little before getting married, though didn’t really “date”), it always seems absurd to me.

    @Giliell (#2):

    But our fear of immigrants is much reater than our compassion for women and girls.

    Sadly so. I wish some of the people who say they’re so appalled at these kind of things that are done to girls and women would actually have some compassion instead of just hating anyone who’s from a different country. It doesn’t make things better to say that they feel bad for the girls if they then support laws that make their situation worse.


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