Al Jazeera

Campaigners divided over UK forced marriage law

London, England — Parents in the UK who force their children into marriage could be jailed for up to seven years under new legislation outlawing the practice, but campaigners are divided over whether the threat of criminal trial and tough punishments will deter perpetrators, or simply deter victims and those at risk from coming forward.

The new crime of forcing someone to marry against their will, which came into force earlier this month, gives police and prosecutors the power to pursue anyone suspected of using physical, psychological, emotional or financial pressure to coerce others, typically relatives, into marriage.

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Al Jazeera

UK alert over summer spike in forced marriages

London, United Kingdom – British authorities fear that hundreds of teenage girls travelling from the UK during the current school holidays risk being forced into family-arranged marriages, with one welfare charity urging potential victims to conceal a metal spoon in their underwear to alert airport security staff to their plight.

The airport offers a last chance for those who fear they are being taken abroad to be married to raise their concerns.

The airport offers a last chance for those who fear they are being taken abroad to be married to raise their concerns.

The UK government’s Forced Marriage Unit earlier this month put welfare services and airports on alert after dealing with 400 cases between June and August last year. Officials have also distributed information cards urging those with concerns to seek help or call a confidential helpline.

But Karma Nirvana, a charity that supports victims of forced marriage, said it had advised some girls who suspect they are being taken abroad to be married to use a hidden spoon to set off airport scanners, as a last-ditch way to seek help and avoid boarding a plane with family members.

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