A LEADING campaigner for the rights of Asian women has claimed the Scottish Executive is not allocating enough funding to tackle the problem of forced marriage in Scotland.
Jasvinder Sanghera, who runs Karma Nirvana, a Derby-based refuge for Asian women, says there is a particular problem of forced marriage in Scotland, but she claims the Executive has indicated it does not have the funds to tackle the issue.
The pressure to take part in a forced marriage can take various forms. In some cases it can involve kidnapping, sexual, physical and mental abuse, and even murder if they are refused.
There is currently no law banning the practice of forced marriage in the UK. Following a three-month consultation last year, the government announced its intention not to legislate against it.
Sanghera said: "Why are we not making more fuss? Asian women are taught to be voiceless. It is up to the rest of us to make a noise for them. If we're not going to have a criminal offence that sits alone in its own right, what are we going to have, and what are we going to do to make the existing offence work?"
A Scottish Executive spokesman said: "The Executive is aware of the issue and it is something we recognise as being very important in Scotland.
"However, the Executive cannot make funding allocations until ministers have evaluated all of the proposals currently submitted for consideration. Once the evaluation is complete, policies will be implemented, but as yet there is no fixed date for that to happen.
"We are looking at how best to protect the people of Scotland from the crimes, and abuses of human rights associated with forced marriage.
"Scottish ministers are considering the key themes that emerged from the Forced Marriage consultation and will make a decision on how to best address this issue in Scotland."