A report released by the International Organization for Migration(IOM) indicates there is a new form of human trafficking which has emerged in southeast Asia. The brides-to-be are brought down from poor Cambodian villages and herded into city hotels where they are lined up on display for prospective grooms flowin in from South Korea. Over the past four years about 2,500 women have wed South Korean m en through an underground matmaking business that few even in Cambodia knew anything about. The activity has grown in Cambodia because Vietnam cracked down on such marriages in recent years. John McGeoghan of IOM says, “It’s become a big business. we now see that these marrige brokers are popping up in Cambodia. This is a new market for them, and there’s a lot of money to be made.” Potential grooms pay brokers up to $20,000 and the bride’s family gets $1,000 with the rest going to brokers.
The grooms apparently come from low wage earning South Korean workers and farmers who have difficulty getting married to Korean women. The number of such marriage licenses has risen from 72 in 2004 to 1,759 last year in Cambodia. The nation’s Interior Minister has denounced the practice as merely another form of “human trafficking.” Brokers have arranged a four day tour during which South Korean men will examine several women before finally making their selection as to which best suits their taste. The women are mostly in their teens or early twenties and attracted by the prospect of a decent home and life.
There are no studies about how such marriges prove successful or unsuccessful, but it can be imagined many of the women experience loneliness and possible spousal abuse trapped in a foreign nation without acccess to emotional or legal support.