A new law has come into effect in England and Wales that makes it a crime to force people into an unwanted marriage.

Advocates of the law say it represents a benchmark shift in thinking because—after decades of kowtowing to multicultural sensitivities—British policymakers now view forced marriage as a gross violation of human rights rather than a socially acceptable cultural difference. They also say the law will create a deterrent effect because many perpetrators will fear criminal prosecution.

Skeptics counter that the new law is retrograde and will drive victims underground due to fears that family members will be criminalized and sent to prison.

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