Last year the Forced Marriages Unit (FMU), run jointly by the Home Office and the Foreign Office, gave advice and support in 1,267 cases of possible forced marriages.
So why are there so few prosecutions? Many say the problem lies in deep-rooted cultural traditions and that young people are reluctant to come forward to the authorities.
Nazir Afzal, former head of the North West Crown Prosecution Service, says the new legislation with the threat of seven years in prison is needed to make progress. “One of the major things stopping victims coming forward is the codes of silence that exist in the family.
“It’s like the mafia. You cover up, as you are so scared of the consequences,” he says.”Victims are not receiving the justice they deserve and this is why this new legislation matters. It’s to help victims – it’s all victim-led.”
Campaign groups say the actual numbers of forced marriages are much higher, with between 8,000 and 10,000 each year in the UK, though this remains an estimate and actual numbers are hard to prove.
Read More: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33073875