New South Korean program aims to protect Cambodian migrant ‘brides’

WNN Breaking
13 October, 2010

In an effort to protect migrant women who have been brought into the country, South Korean authorities are now requiring that all men who want to marry Cambodian women complete a training that will prevent illegal partnerships with migrants.

A three hour course has now been implemented for all men in South Korea who want to marry migrant women. The program is directed toward seven different countries, including Cambodia.

According to South Korea government data, ten percent of all marriages in the South Korea are between South Korean men and immigrant women. These ‘brides’ usually come from other Asian countries.

“Now when we process visa applications, we will check whether the spouse in Korea has completed the (training) programme,” said Ms. Huh Jungae, counselor at the South Korean embassy in Phnom Penh. “All applicants will now be required to have certificates of completion,” she explained.

Fourteen immigration offices across South Korea are now set to start training  men who are have filed to marry migrant women.

The South Korea Ministry of Justice has said the program will, “raise a bar for inspection of visa application, and restrict visa issuance for spouses of Korean men who are found to have a problematic record and boost information-gathering on the trend of illegal marriage brokerage firms.”

Human traffickers involved in the business of “mail-order” migrant brides in South Korea has been a rising problem. A recent rash of murders of immigrant women has pushed South Korea to design the trainings. Laws on international marriage, transparency in filing marriage visas, as well as training in the culture of the brides home countries will be part of the training.

“Tragic incidents like a recent series of murder cases of marriage migrants have to be stopped,” said a recent official public statement by the office of the South Korea Ministry of Justice.

After a South Korean marriage broker was sentenced to 10 years in prison for trafficking twenty-four women from rural regions in Cambodia last March, the government of Cambodia placed a temporary ban on all marriages between Cambodians and South Koreans.

One month later the ban was lifted for South Korean marriage visas from Cambodia as new transparent methods to screen marriages was introduced by the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior.