Sat, Jan 10, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Vietnam planning to set up overseas marriage brokerage

REGULATING ROMANCE Police have raided events for years at which shadowy brokers have paraded women in front of Asians on short 'marriage holidays'


Vietnam plans to set up an overseas marriage brokerage to regulate a sector now run by illegal matchmakers accused of humiliating women and fueling abuse, the communist government said on Thursday.

Police in Vietnam have repeatedly raided events in recent years at which shadowy brokers have paraded 100 or more young women before potential suitors, often South Koreans and Taiwanese on short “marriage holidays.”

Legalizing and regulating the sector would help protect Vietnamese women from domestic abuse, the government said on its official Web site.

Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem has ordered agencies to create a plan for Vietnam’s first accredited international matchmaking service in Ho Chi Minh City and submit it to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung by June, it said.

In recent years, the number of illegal marriage brokers has increased, drawing mostly on young women from the poor southern Mekong delta.

There have been several reports of maltreatment of Vietnamese wives by their new husbands in South Korea and Taiwan, societies that have more men than women because of widespread cultural preferences for male offspring.

In a raid last November, police detained seven South Korean men, two Vietnamese brokers and 161 local women in a rented house in Ho Chi Minh City.

South Korea last June launched a crackdown on matchmaking agencies that use racial stereotypes or distorted information, seeking to regulate a trend that has led to cases of spousal abuse, divorces and some suicides.

Seoul also started a program to help foreign brides better settle in South Korea, where authorities said 11 percent of marriages were interracial last year — a rate that reached 40 percent among farmers and fishermen.

Khiem also asked Vietnam’s embassies abroad to take “measures to protect the legitimate rights and benefits of Vietnamese citizens in their marriage.”

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