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Officers and partners join forces for Op Limelight at Birmingham Airport

Officers and partner agencies at Birmingham Airport spoke to hundreds of passengers last week to raise awareness of forced marriage and female genital mutilation. 

Air cabin crew and passengers arriving into Birmingham were spoken to by police and social workers as they disembarked flights, and were offered information leaflets which also provided details of local and national support networks.

Those spoken to had arrived on inbound flights from a vast array of countries including Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Senegal and Guinea. 

Partners praised the operation, which happens at airports across the UK every year, with other countries such as the United States of America and Australia now following the UK’s lead.

Last year, West Midlands Police became the first UK police force in England to secure a conviction under forced marriage legislation when a mother was jailed for forcing her daughter to marry in Pakistan after whisking her away on the pretence of a family holiday.

DC Gill Squires
Detective Constable Gill Squires helped co-ordinate Op Limelight

Detective Constable Gill Squires, from West Midlands Police, said: “The police cannot tackle these issues alone, it’s crucial that agencies work together to uncover and deal with these issues. This operation is about identifying and safeguarding victims and enforcing the law, but equally it is about raising awareness of these hidden crimes. 

“We understand how difficult it is for victims to speak out, particularly when it is often their family who are to blame - but we have specially trained officers who will listen to victims and support them to escape from forced marriages or situations where there is honour-based abuse, we can also take action to prevent a forced marriage occurring. Both West Midlands Police and partners have safeguarded victims using civil orders, such as forced marriage protection orders." 

We would always encourage anyone with information or concerns on Forced Marriage or FGM to get in touch via our Live Chat facility or call us on 101. In an emergency, always dial 999. 

More information about female genital mutilation and forced marriage can be found on our site.

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