Polegate and SeafordMP and Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker has launched a new law which will help protect thousands of potential victims by making it a criminal offence to force someone to marry against their will .
New legislation came into force on Monday designed to help people in England and Wales.
It also applies to UK nationals overseas who are at risk of becoming the victim of a forced marriage. Forced marriage can involve physical, psychological, emotional, financial and sexual abuse including being held unlawfully captive, assaulted and raped. In 2013, the government’s Forced Marriage Unit gave advice or support related to a possible forced marriage to more than 1,300 people.
The maximum penalty for the new offence of forced marriage is seven years imprisonment.
Mr Baker said, “Marriage should be about two people deciding they want to live together because they love each other.
“To force someone in to marriage to a person they don’t want to be with against their will is a corruption of marriage.
“Moreover it is in effect a life sentence for the person forced to marry, who at worst will then become a domestic servant by day and a sex slave by night.”