UK court urged to treat ‘IS bride’ as a child trafficking victim

A woman lost her British citizenship after enlisting in the militant Islamic State (IS) movement as an ‘IS bride’ in Syria. She was the target of propaganda in the British court recently. The court is urging to treat alleged women like a victim of child trafficking. In 2015, she was 15 years old when she and two school friends left their east London home to travel to Syria. She married an IS fighter and gave birth to three children in Syria. However, none of her newborns survived.

British journalists later found her in a camp in Syria in February 2019. During her initial interviews, she appeared to have no remorse whatsoever. This gesture outraged people to the core. People declared her an “IS bride” and stripped her of her British citizenship. This move left her stranded in Syria’s Roj camp and stateless. She challenged the Supreme Court’s decision to deny her entry to the UK to pursue her citizenship case. 

The authorities recently presented her case against the Home Office in a courtroom. Authorities brought the case in front of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) on Monday. At the beginning of the five-day hearing, Shamim Begum’s attorney Samantha Knights made some emotional remarks. She said that this case concerns a British child of only 15 years of age. There is a huge possibility that somebody influenced the child. She added in written submissions that there was overwhelming proof for her claim. The members of IS transported the victim Shamim to Syria. They smuggled her out of the country for the purposes of sexual exploitation and marriage to an adult male.

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However, the attorney testified at the hearing that the Home Office’s decision-making procedure was “unusual” and “too sudden”. Moreover, she accused the Home Office of failing to conduct an investigation to determine whether Shamim was a child victim of trafficking and not an ‘IS bride’.

However, the Home Office’s representative James Eadie denied all the allegations. James claimed that the victim traveled, aligned, and stayed in Syria for four years. She only left the IS for safety concerns and not because of a genuine disengagement from the group.

Moreover, the representative said that the former Home Secretary properly considered all the relevant factors before making his choice. He added that the case involved national security rather than human trafficking.

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