Laws to prevent forced marriages and protect those already in them have been introduced in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Anyone convicted of trying to force someone into wedlock faces a maximum two year jail sentence.
Distinct from mutually-accepted arranged marriages, forced marriages have led to suicide’s and “honour killing” murders in Britain.
Dr Nazia Khanun has campaigned hard for the legislation: “Normally even the victims don’t want to go to the police because they don’t want to penalise their parents for what they are doing. They feel very unhappy and sometimes do self harm, which is terrible, and its not surprising that some cases of suicides are connected with this as well, but unfortunately, I couldn’t find the exact numbers. It’s very difficult.”
So far this year, officials have dealt with more than 1,500 reports of forced marriages.
Under the Act, a protection order can be made to assist people at risk of being forced into a marriage. Courts will be able to order people to hand over passports, reveal the whereabouts of a person thought to be at risk and stop someone from being taken abroad.
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