Bride (image courtesy of shutterstock)

The passage of national forced-marriage laws in England and Scotland has sparked fierce debate among lawmakers, advocates and survivors over whether these legal remedies should be civil or criminal in nature.  Proponents of criminalizing forced marriage argue that criminal penalties would deter more forced marriages and send a clear message to victims that what’s happening to them is wrong.  Proponents of civil remedies argue that criminalizing forced marriage will only discourage reporting and push the practice underground, further endangering victims.  The Brits have passed a civil forced marriage act, whereas Scotland has criminalised forced marriage.  This debate is only just beginning in the United States.

GJI wants to know what you think?  Drop us a comment below, and weigh in on the civil-versus-criminal debate…