Campaigners welcomed a new law outlawing forced marriage, which comes into force on Monday, calling it a “huge step forward”.
Forcing someone into marriage in England and Wales will now carry a maximum seven year jail sentence in a move that the government hopes will protect thousands.
Home Secretary Theresa May called the practice “a tragedy for each and every victim” and that she was “proud” that Britain was leading the way in introducing such laws.
“I am proud to say that the UK is already a world-leader in the fight to stamp out this harmful practice with the Government’s Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) working hard to tackle this terrible practice in the UK and overseas,” she said.
Ash Chand, from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, hailed the law as a “huge step forward”.