Parents who force their children to marry in England and Wales could be jailed in future. The British government is planning to make forced marriage a criminal offence.
Visiting an advice centre in London, Prime Minister David Cameron described the practice as “abhorrent.”
It is estimated around 8000 young women are affected every year.
“I think there should be tough punishments. Think what we are considering here: this is a 15-year-old girl, whipped out of school, flown to the other side of the world, introduced to the person they’re going to be forced into marrying and their whole life being ruined, that’s what we’re talking about,” Cameron said.
“As far as I am concerned, if you commit that sort of offence you should get a very, very tough punishment.”
The government says it will invest more than half a million euros to help identify and support victims.
However, critics say criminalising forced marriage could deter people from coming forward.