The Norwich boss of a charity which has been instrumental in campaigning for women's rights has been made an MBE in the New Year's Honours list.

Aneeta Prem, who lives in the city, founded Freedom Charity in 2010 and has overseen the creation of a 24-hour helpline for women facing severe abuse such as FGM (Female Genitalia Mutilation), modern slavery and dishonour abuse.

Ms Prem's accolade was given in honour of the positive impact her charity has had through championing the cause of women subjected to those issues along with virginity tests, hymenoplasty and breast ironing.

She said: "I am incredibly humbled to be made an MBE (Member of the British Empire) and am happy to accept it on behalf of everyone at Freedom Charity who has been working relentlessly to protect women and girls.

"Forced marriage and virginity testing have been made a crime in the UK as a result of our campaigning and raising awareness.

"We've shined a light on these issues and I'm really pleased for the team who all deserve this award. But there is still a lot more to be done."

As head of the charity she has also set up a smartphone app for aid information, which aims to reach out to victims of abuse giving them access to rescue and rehabilitation.

In liaison with the PSHE Association and the government's Forced Marriage Unit, Ms Prem produced lesson plans on forced marriage and FGM which have been widely used in schools and rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

She has even delivered the lessons personally and written educational books But It’s Not Fair on forced marriage and Cut Flowers on FGM, which describe real-life scenarios in appropriate language for young people so they can easily be recognised. 

Over 70,000 of these books have been donated to individuals and placed in libraries. 

Her relentless campaigning has influenced senior politicians and led to dishonour abuse, forced marriage and virginity testing being made criminal offences in the UK.  

Ms Prem says her charity must continue exposing the "difficult issues" and educating new generations, particularly young boys, in order to change cultural mindsets.