Mail Ordered Marriage
Mail order brides have long been associated with human trafficking and slavery.
It’s kind of a no-brainer.
Not knowing your future spouse can obviously cause some serious problems. There have been numerous cases of depression, suicide and domestic violence related to mail order marriage. The profit margin for many matchmaking services is extremely high, leaving very little money for the family in the developing country.
Even though the service is legal in most countries, mail order brides can be a common cover for human trafficking and sex slavery. Sometimes the women are trafficked in their home countries, and sometimes the groom traps the bride once she arrives.
The trafficking of mail order brides serves as a typical example of how slavery works: either she must do what the man says or face deportation, or she is under debt bondage in her home country, and the price the man pays for her will pay off her debt. These are two very common ways of enslaving a person.
In the last decades many countries providing the demand for these relationships – including the United States, Australia, and Cananda – have passed laws meant to protect the women by offering them follow-up services and by requiring their grooms to provide certain information ahead of time, including criminal records.
There is no real evidence that the laws have worked, but the increase in social services surrounding these marital transactions has helped to give some trafficked women a way to get out.
The statistics are not all bad, though. In fact, quite the contrary. Sometimes the deal works out very well. Mail order relationships generally have a much lower rate of divorce (20%), and, according to their testimonies, thousands of couples around the world have used such services with great results. The many successful examples rarely make the news – probably because something so taboo would be considered repulsive.
It’s odd – we assume exploitation is happening within one industry, when the real numbers are likely better than we think. And we forget that, in many cases, slavery is less about who men are ordering over the internet, and more about the kind of food we’re eating and shoes we’re wearing.
Do you think it should be legal to order a spouse over the internet?