'Slavery' of forced marriage to become a criminal offenceReported by Metro.co.uk on Friday, 8 June 2012 (on June 8, 2012)
*Prime minister David Cameron has taken steps to make forced marriage a criminal offence after new figures revealed how much a problem it is in the UK.*
The government's Forced Marriage Unit offered advice on around 580 cases of forced marriage in London between January last year and last month.
David Cameron's plans to criminalise forced marriages have been met with anger from some children's charities (PA)
Mr Cameron described the cases, which can involve children as young as five, as 'little more than slavery'.
Nearly half the cases involved people of Pakistani origin, nine per cent were of Bangladeshi origin, nine per cent were from Britain and three per cent were from Afghanistan.
Mr Cameron announced a further £500,000 of funding that will go towards identifying and supporting victims of forced marriages.
Protection orders will remain so that victims can take cases to the civil courts or start criminal proceedings against their parents.
'To force anyone into marriage against their will is simply wrong and that is why we have taken decisive action to make it illegal,' the prime minister explained.
However, the government's plans have attracted criticism from some children's charities, claiming that they could force the issue further underground.
Andrew Flanagan, chief executive of children's charity NSPCC, said there is a danger victims could be more wary of coming forward if it could mean their parents being jailed.
Links: Full news story
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