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UK to impose law against forced marriages

04 June, 2012

LONDON: The British government is going to impose a new law in days to come under which the families who coerce their children into a forced marriage could face up to five years in jail, it is learnt.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is due to announce the new legislation this week. The new law will criminalise the practice, which occurs in some ethnic communities. Forcing someone into wedlock would become a criminal offence in its own right under the proposals.

Breaching an existing forced marriage civil protection order, which prevents a young person being made to marry against their will would also be a criminal act, punishable by five years in prison.

A British Home Office source told our sources that the number of forced marriages is increasing and estimates that there are between 5,000 and 8,000 cases reported in England a year. Most involve families from Pakistan, Afghanistan, North and East Africa, India, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq and Turkey.

The source said, "The government wants to be seen to be sending out the message to families within these communities that this kind of thing will not be tolerated any more. The prime minister wants to stamp this out and feels that he will have the support of the public behind him."

Earlier this year, a report from the British government's Forced Marriage Unit revealed that a five-year-old girl had become Britain's youngest victim of forced marriage.

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