Mail Order Brides & Dating
In 2010, for example, a South Korean man murdered his Vietnamese bride after eight days of marriage. The husband did not disclose his schizophrenia when he met his bride through a matchmaking agency. In the BBC’s 2019 report, it reported on a South Korean man who physically abused his Vietnamese wife. Many Vietnamese wives in South Korea sometimes find themselves at the mercy of their husbands because their immigration status depends on them. There are certainly many accusations that people make against the mail-order bride industry. Critics accuse the industry of being another form of human trafficking for three main reasons.
International marriage agencies are frequently referred to as “mail-order bride” agencies. A mail-order bride is a woman who lists herself in catalogs and is selected by a man for marriage. In the twentieth century, the trend was primarily towards women living in developing countries seeking men in more developed nations. In the twenty-first century, the trend is now based primarily on internet-based meeting places which do not per se qualify as mail-order bride services. The majority of the women listed in the twentieth-century and twenty-first-century services are from Southeast Asia, countries of the former Eastern Bloc and from Latin America. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, large numbers of eastern European women have advertised themselves in such a way, primarily from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova. Men who list themselves in such publications are referred to as “mail-order husbands”, although this is much less common.
This is part of the reason why many international matchmaking agencies shun the term mail-order brides. Despite what the term might suggest, no one is ordering another human being for shipment to their doorsteps. Instead, many clients of these matchmaking agencies have to work with international marriage brokers to connect and meet their potential spouses. The New York Times reports, “Every month, hundreds of South Korean men fly to Vietnam, the Philippines, Nepal and Uzbekistan on special trips. An agent escorts each man to see many women in a single day, sometimes all gathered in the same hall”. Although these marriages can be successful, in some cases immigrant wives are mistreated, misunderstood and separated from their Korean husbands.
Men and women, mainly in South East Asia, East Asia and Eastern Europe, employ the services of numerous matchmaking agencies and marriage brokers to search for their special someone. In South Korea, for example, some bachelors utilize these services because they are unable to find romantic relationships and partners in their country. Women from Vietnam, the Philippines, Russia and Ukraine constitute the majority of the brides in these services. These women often come to these international matchmaking agencies because they are trying to escape the poor economic realities of their home countries, such as being in danger of sexual and economic exploitation.
However, economic factors are not the only driving factor for women in Asia to enter the mail-order industry. Filipina women often entered the mail-order industry in the hope of marrying abroad, and then sponsoring their family for immigration. In some cases women were recruited based on their physical appearance, with an emphasis placed on youth and virginity. This is found among boutique agencies, most of which cater to wealthy men from other Asian nations. The majority of Asian mail-order brides come from the Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and China.
The business is booming, but it is important to have conversations about the links between mail-order brides and human trafficking. The majority of the women who sign up with matchmaking agencies do so voluntarily. For these women, marrying a foreign man is one of the sure-fire ways to escape poverty in their country. This, however, does not eliminate the possibility of these women receiving false information about their future husbands. This could lead to further exploitation and violence once these Vietnamese brides arrive in their husbands’ home country.
This article will highlight the reality of Vietnamese mail-order brides in particular. Agencies must also obtain the potential bride’s written consent to release her personal contact information to the client. After receiving this information, the bride has the option to accept or refuse communication with the client. This law is an attempt to protect mail-order brides from becoming battered wives, and lawmakers are hopeful that these changes will serve to empower the women to know more about the men with whom they are linking their futures. The incentives that drive many women to enlist as mail-order brides are similar to the situations that make trafficking victims more susceptible to their traffickers.
In 2001, at age 23, she found her way to a fledgling internet cafe in a nearby city and registered at Cherry Blossoms, the oldest and most established mail-order bride service in the world. Cherry Blossoms began publishing catalogues of international women looking for husbands in 1974, charging foreigners a fee in exchange for a woman’s address. In 2001, the company shifted its entire operation online—and Leonor started receiving emails from an American in his 50s living in Thailand, named Dan McKee. There have been several murders of mail-order brides in South Korea.
Lastly, people do not hold IMBs responsible for the safety of the mail-order brides they introduce their clients to, leaving many mail-order brides in danger of violence and exploitation from their spouses. Mail order brides are women who are explicitly looking for a husband and advertise themselves through international marriage agencies that publicize their availability. These agencies have names such as AnastasiaDate.com, Loveme.com, Russianbrides.com, and Globalladies.com. The mail-order brides industry certainly paints a very ambiguous picture. On one hand, there are men and women who are desperately looking for their special someone. These men and women, driven by their desire to start a family, climbing the socio-economic ladder or simply finding love, turn to many international matchmaking agencies to find their special someone.