Forced marriage fear for ‘missing children’

A NUMBER of young students across the country are ‘missing’ from school amid fears they have been the victims of forced marriages, it has emerged.

Evidence given to the Home Affairs Select Committee which is investigating the issue of forced marriages gave an alarming indication into the seriousness of the problem.

Although there is no evidence the ‘missing’ children had been forced into marriages abroad, MP’s said the numbers were of ‘serious concern’.

In Bradford 33 children remain unaccounted for, Children’s Minister Kevin Brennan said.

Mr Brennan said Bradford City Council lost track of 205 youngsters last year.

Further inquiries had established the whereabouts of 172 – leaving 33 unaccounted for.

“It is a serious concern when any child – any single child – becomes unaccounted for,” said Mr Brennan.

“And what we need to try to do is seek an explanation of what has happened.”

The Government is also concerned up to another 14 areas across the country could have a substantial number of missing under 16’s.

Committee chairman Keith Vaz, a former Labour minister, said MPs were “very, very concerned”.

“The figures you have given us quite frankly have shocked members of this committee just in relation to Bradford,” he said.

He added: “There are 14 other areas where there are missing children. This is totally unsatisfactory.”

The MPs demanded a report with more details about the “missing” children be ready by next Tuesday.


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