In another case, a young Pakistani girl subjected to forced marriage escaped from her husband and wandered alone on the streets of Barcelona for ten days until gathering the courage to report her situation to the police.
In some cases, the trigger for forced marriage comes when young women from Muslim immigrant families find a boyfriend in Spain and angry parents intervene. A 17-year-old girl in Gerona, for instance, was coaxed by her family to travel to her native country for a family reunion. Once there, she was forced to marry her cousin. Although she resisted because she had a boyfriend in Gerona, she relented when her family threatened to prevent her from returning to Spain if she refused to sign the marriage certificate.
Catalan police say they prevented 21 forced marriages in 2011, 13 of which involved minors; 15 forced marriages in 2010, and 13 in 2009. They also say that in 2011, they prevented the genital mutilation of 36 girls aged between two years to 12. Most of the cases (27) occurred in the province of Barcelona, eight in Gerona and one in Lérida. In 2010, Catalan police prevented the genital mutilation of 28 girls, and in 2009, 55 genital mutilations. Catalonia accounts for 80% of the girls in Spain who are at risk of genital mutilation.
Local police say that many Muslim girls in Catalonia live in fear of the so-called family reunion in disguise and that they often speak of friends who left Spain, but never returned.
Originally published by the Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org
About the Author: The writer is the Senior Analyst for Transatlantic Relations at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group, one of the oldest and most influential foreign policy think tanks in Spain.
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