05/19/2022, 15.51
CAMBODIA – CHINA
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More and more Cambodian women victims of bride trafficking to China

COVID-19’s economic impact aggravated a trend created by China’s infamous one-child policy. Intermediaries earn US$ 20,000 to US$ 40,000 per marriage. Women and girls enticed with a promise of work often complain that they end up married in violent or dangerous environments.

Phnom Penh (AsiaNews) – The number of Cambodian women victims of bride trafficking schemes in China continues to rise, this according to a new report by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC).

“The number of women and girls traveling from Cambodia to China for forced or arranged marriages has surged since 2016, and experienced a further spike since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first quarter of 2020,” reads the GI-TOC.

Although some cases might be consensual, the report notes that more and more women reported finding themselves in violent or dangerous environments once in China.

Like in all trafficking contexts, bride trafficking to China is demand-driven, fuelled by China’s infamous one-child policy, which remained in place until 2015. Combined with selective abortion, it created a gender imbalance with a shortage of women in marriageable age.

Bride trafficking has been going on since the 1980s, but saw a significant jump in 2000, when the first generation born under the one-child policy came of age.

According to the GI-TOC report, in China bride traffickers can earn between US$ 20,000 and US$ 40,000 dollars per marriage.

Some women and girls “are deceived and promised a job in China; others are told they need a marriage certificate in order to be eligible for well-paid work (which is not the case); some are tricked and sold by their family members, relatives and acquaintances for a lump sum or the promise of a good marriage and better life in China.”

To contain the problem, GI-TOC recommends, among other things, legalising marriage agencies in Cambodia and place them under close supervision and regulation. At present, they are formally banned under Cambodian law.

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