Britain has introduced legislation outlawing forced marriages and protecting those already in them. Anyone convicted of trying to force someone into wedlock could now be jailed for two years. Authorities claim the problem is widespread, particularly in the Pakistani community. Victims say the measure is long overdue. One woman forced to marry against her will said: “It amazes me today that they (her family) accepted what happened to me and they thought it was normal. They didn’t think it was wrong and society today still doesn’t it wrong.”
Campaigners say forced marriages have led to suicides and “honour killing” murders in Britain, and that they can often go undetected. “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. Its very difficult,” researcher Dr Nazia Khanum said. Under the new law a family would be forced to reveal a missing person’s whereabouts in suspected cases. The police also have powers to seize passports.