Child brides from overseas can legally enter Britain because of a legal loophole.
If the girl is wed lawfully in her homeland her husband cannot be prosecuted under UK law, Theresa May’s Home Office said.
Officials made the admission after the Bishop of St Albans Alan Smith asked the House of Lords what steps the Government was taking to protect girls already in under-age marriages from coming into the UK.
Schools minister Lord Nash told him social services and police might be involved if there were child protection issues, but the law as it stands cannot stop child brides entering the UK in the first place.
|If the girl is wed lawfully in her homeland then her husband cannot |
be prosecuted under UK law, Theresa May’s Home Office admitted
Rt Rev Dr Smith told the Sunday People: “I’m pleased to have unearthed anomalies our Government must wrestle with if it is to secure the future and safety of young girls brought into the country.”
Yasmin Rehman of the End Violence against Women Coalition said: “Child marriages should be illegal in this country.
“We protect British-born children, but we seem to think children from other countries have lesser rights if they are child brides.”
Under forced marriage laws passed earlier this year, their weddings would be illegal only if they were coerced.
|Children having children long before their bodies are ready|
Yordanos Takle Tesfagabir was reunited with her husband who lives here as a refugee.
One in nine girls worldwide is married before age 15. Girls of 14 can wed in Bolivia and Paraguay, and under 12s in Tanzania.