Jas Sanghera steps down as head of Karma Nirvana, says govt still ignoring forced marriages
By Barfi Culture Team
8th October 2018

After 25 years of leading the fight in Britain against forced marriages, campaigner Jasvinder Sanghera CBE is stepping down as head of the Karma Nirvana.

She founded the charity after surviving her own ordeal. At 16 she ran away from home rather than be forced to marry a man she had never met.

"I established KN as a result of personal experience and the loss of my dear sister Robina whose death I would not allow to be in vain," she wrote on her Facebook Page last night.

"Today Karma Nirvana is stronger than ever and I know the dedicated team will take it forward into a new era."

Government not doing enough

In an interview with the Observer newspaper yesterday, she also harshly criticised the Conservatives for ignoring the problem.

"The government has not done enough to raise awareness and mainstream the issue, so there remains a huge problem with professionals viewing forced marriage as a cultural issue rather than a crime. Many aren't even aware there is a law," she said.

"We campaigned for legislation [on forced marriages] not only to secure convictions but to send a strong message that if you do this in Britain you will be locked up. But none of this has happened and as a result I feel really let down by the lack of leadership," she added.

Forced Marriage was specifically criminalised in 2014 after a long campaign by women's groups.

But it wasn't until May 2018 that a British mother was convicted for forcing her daughter into marriage in Pakistan. That was the first such conviction and there have only been two more since then.

"This is completely disproportionate when you consider the thousands of reports [of forced marriages]," Jas Sanghera told the Observer.

"Despite the prevalence of this crime, there is still a reluctance to investigate and prosecute. Yet forced marriage is de facto rape because there is no consent, and in extreme cases can lead to honour killings."

'I need a break!'

What does she plan to do next? Jas Sanghera wrote on Facebook that she was looking forward to some well deserved rest.

"Well I intend to take a little break, reflect, cuddle my grandchildren more, switch off my mobile more and plan how best to make an even greater difference!"

But, thankfully, she isn't going to stop campaigning just yet.

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