When R, a British national, was 10, her father breached a court order and took her and her four siblings to Pakistan without her mother’s permission. She pleaded with her father to be allowed to return home but he refused, telling her that she was engaged to her cousin. He also told R that her mother didn’t want her back in the UK.
Finally, when she was 15, R managed to use a mobile phone she’d secretly got hold of to contact her mother and ask her for help. But the situation then got worse. R’s mobile phone was found and confiscated. Her father beat her because she had ‘looked at a boy’. R was then told she was going to Afghanistan to meet her future husband.
R managed to get a message to her mother who contacted the Forced Marriage Unit. Court orders were obtained in the UK against R’s father. The British High Commission in Pakistan rescued R from her father’s home and she was returned to her mother in the UK.
During her five years in Pakistan, R was regularly beaten. She had also been confined to the house and prevented from going to school. R is still frightened that her father will return for her but is now getting her life back on track.
R’s two older brothers and elder sister were not as ‘lucky’ as her: each was forced to marry at 15 or 16 years old.