“Marriage Migration” Significant Factor in Trafficking in Viet Nam: IOM

Viet Nam – Coinciding with the first World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, IOM Viet Nam, funded by the State of Kuwait, and supported the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security, today convened a conference on illegal international marriage brokerage as a means of human trafficking.

Over 18,000 Vietnamese citizens migrate to get married every year, with a significant number making use of illegal brokers. The resultant lack of proper registration leaves women exposed to abandonment, violence and abuse, which in turn can lead to depression and suicide.

The IOM conference forms part of the government’s effort to achieve a National Plan of Action against Human Trafficking (2011-2015) and is helping to raise awareness of the risks involved in marriage migration.

“The conference is an important contribution to ongoing efforts by Viet Nam to combat human trafficking in all its forms,” said IOM Head of Sub-office in Ho Chi Minh City Nguyen Trang.

“Exploitation and trafficking via international marriage is an increasingly concerning trend. These discussions are an important step to enhance identification and prevention of trafficking through this channel, and improve protection for vulnerable groups,” she added.

Human trafficking is a deplorable crime that, despite work undertaken by the authorities, still occurs quite frequently in Viet Nam. The country is a major source country for migrant brides, with Vietnamese women being the second largest group of immigrant spouses in the Republic of Korea and in Taiwan.

China is also a major destination. This may be partly due to sex-ratio imbalances created by the country’s rural preference for sons over daughters and selective abortions in the past that have led to far more men than women of marriageable age.  

According to the government, in the first quarter of 2013 in Viet Nam’s southern Kien Giang province, 13 of the 15 administrative units showed that more than 1,000 women married foreigners, but only about 17 per cent of the marriages were properly registered.

Today’s conference in My Tho, Tien Giang province, attracted more than 100 participants, including representatives from the police, border guards, Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs, Minis