Saima Ahmed grew up in a seemingly happy, middle-class British home.

Her mother is a GP and her father a successful businessman.

But that didn't stopped them flying her to Pakistan and forcing her to marry a man she had never met before - a man who raped her every night until she became pregnant.

When the 20-year-old finally plucked up the courage to run away from the family home in an affluent town outside London, they sent a family friend after her. He stabbed her, killing her unborn son.

No one has ever been prosecuted for stabbing her, nor have her family ever had to answer for what they did.

But Saima (not her real name) is determined to see her parents face justice.

She hopes to change that by building a powerful body of evidence that will force the police to act on her complaints.

In the next two weeks the British Government is finally expected to announce whether it will create a separate criminal offence for forced marriage.

Criminal convictions resulting from forced marriages are incredibly rare, partly because there is no specific law banning it in Britain at the moment. Saima's case adds to the pressure on the Government to make forced marriages a specific criminal offence.

Before the general election, Conservative leader David Cameron promised to do so, calling forced marriages an "utterly bizarre and frankly unacceptable" practice.

But after more than a year of the Coalition Government there has been little movement on the issue.

"I can still remember waking up in hospital, listening to those machines beeping and realising that my angel was gone," said Saima. "But it's because of him that I have the strength to do this.

"If I can stop just one girl from going through what I went through it'll be worth it."

Many of those who work with victims of forced marriages hope Britain will now follow the lead of Belgium, Norway and Germany who have all brought in custodial punishments for anyone caught forcing someone to marry.

The home affairs select committee, which took soundings from a host of experts, said only full criminalisation would send a message that such a practice will not be tolerated.

Diana Nammi, who runs the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation, fully supports this approach.

"If a parent physically abuses their child, they know social services will take that child away," she said.

"Families simply don't face the same penalties for forcing a marriage upon their children. That can't be right."

Natasha Rattu, a qualified barrister who works for the charity Karma Nirvana, adds: "I think there's a fear or being branded racist - it makes people reluctant to support criminalisation.

"Well we shouldn't let anyone convince us that it is part of their culture or religion to abuse.

"Forced marriage is a crime, full stop and the law should say that."

- Independent