In its Sunday edition, the Tampere paper Aamulehti interviews Nasima Razmyar, chair of the Multicultural Women’s Association Monika, an NGO aimed at supporting immigrant women in Finland. She believes that dozens of young women or men based in Finland are forced into marriage with someone of their parents’ choosing annually.
Razmyar bases her estimate on her own contacts among immigrants. She notes that dozens of immigrant women and girls seek protection at women’s shelters annually, and believes that this is just a fraction of those who need help.
Sini Maria Heikkilä, Advocacy Coordinator at the Finnish League for Human Rights, says that the number of forced marriages in Finland must be investigated.
Last year the British government's Forced Marriage Unit gave support related to possible forced marriages in more than 1300 cases. More than half of these involved immigrants from South Asia, and nearly one fifth of cases involved male victims.
According to Heikkilä, this probably just represents the tip of the iceberg.
The Afghan-born Razmyar, a former Refugee Woman of the Year, is now an SDP European Parliament candidate.