NHS doctor Humayra Abedin, who said she has been held captive by her parents ahead of a forced marriage, is returning to the UK. A Bangladesh court’s decision to order her release has been hailed as a “landmark” ruling by her lawyers. But how significant is the case of the 33-year-old trainee GP to the battle against forced marriages in Britain? For campaigners, the story of Dr Abedin’s alleged capture is disappointingly familiar. She had travelled to Dhaka in August after hearing her mother was sick, but later sent messages to friends in the UK saying she was being held against her will and was being forced to marry. The UK’s Forced Marriage Unit dealt with more than 1,300 similar cases during the first three quarters of this year – an increase of 79% on 2007. Most involved families from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

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