For potential victims of forced marriages, salvation might just be one hidden spoon away.
Karma Nirvana is a charity group based in Derby, England, which assists victims of forced marriages—a majority of which are teenaged girls—who told AFP news agency of a way of escape for those who fear they are being subjected to an unwanted marriage: hiding a spoon in your underwear on the way to the airport.
The spoon will set off the metal detector in airport security, and since a further inquiry will reveal the object in a private area, the person will be ushered away from the general public—and, most importantly their parents—for a private inspection. This is when he or she could reveal the forced marriage plans to authorities, and potentially get help.
"We've had people ring and that it's helped them and got them out of a dangerous situation, Natasha Rattu, Karma Nirvana's operations manager, told AFP. “It's an incredibly difficult thing to do with your family around you -- but they won't be aware you have done it. It's a safe way."
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Karma Nirvana receives around 6,500 each year, but has almost reached that point already in 2013 as awareness of the prevalence of forced marriages grows. The charity is currently working with several airports in England—London Heathrow, Liverpool and Glasgow, and soon Birmingham—to spot warning signs of a forced marriage, “such as one-way tickets, the time of year, age of the person and whether they look uncomfortable,” according to Fox News.
According to The Daily Mail, The United Kingdom’s Foreign Office's Forced Marriage Unit gave support for 1,485 cases through December 2012, although it is feared many more go unreported. Around 400 of these were reported in June, July and August. More than a third of the victims in these cases were under the age of 17 and more than 80 percent were female.