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