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?

3 Responses to “Mail Ordered Marriage”
  1. Darrell says:

    Well now, that’s a good question. People should be able to contract with each other if they both want the contract. If both sides have good intent then the deal is fair but if one side has bad intent then the deal is fraudulent. That’s the same as any other business deal which is what you describe. Perhaps love will come of it at some point.

    Have you seen the movie “Taken?” Now that movie portrayed true sex slavery as one might think of it without your research. It also protrayed one father who simply would not accept the results and thanks to him that slavery ring got exactly what it deserved. Check it out.

    As an aside, I have a friend who went the mail order route with a lady in an Eastern European country. Hen wanted to marry a woman from the country that he thought of as his ancestral home. He didn’t exactly use mail, instead he bought ads in the EU newspapers and asked for resumes. He was flooded with resumes and pictures. He corresponded with several of them and then went to Europe to interview them. He selected one and tried to make himself marry her but he could not commit himself. He has some psychological problems. Lucky her.The process seemed to work though.

  2. katinka says:

    Ever read *Sarah, Plain and Tall* as a child?

  3. Lean says:

    Mail-order brides always seemed really mysterious to me, and then there is now the world of eHarmony and online dating services. It seems that our culture is comfortable with people finding each other remotely. I suppose what seems strange about mail-order brides is that the man just sort of gets to pick… it has the same vibe television’s The Bachelor. In the end, I don’t think it should be illegal, but made as safe as possible for all involved.

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