The phenomenon of Mail-order brides (MOB) directly correlates to human trafficking into the sex industry by organized criminal groups. Contemporary mail-order bride phenomenon can be described as the introduction of women from Third World countries (or from former USSR) to men from First World countries through agencies that specialize in placing personal ads about potential wives on the internet with the ultimate goal of immigration of the woman and marriage between the two parties (Langevin, 76) . From first impression, it seems that the marriage agencies represent an extension of internet dating in the age of globalization (Langevin, 76). To the uncritical observer, it appears to ‘kill two birds with one stone’, solving the issue of solitude for men who could not find a compatible partner and the desire of underprivileged women to immigrate for better opportunities. The method at which it is done also seems appropriate with the growing accessibility of information technology as well as international migration (Langevin, 76). Yet this plain view fails to see the women involved as commodities for consumer men and the MOB industry as very lucrative for criminals. The following paper will illustrate how women particularly from the third world and former USSR parts of the world are exploited and trafficked globally under the false pretences of the “mail-order bride” phenomenon. It will discuss the profile of the commodified female brides as well as the consumer husband, describe the current legal policies in sending and receiving countries and offer suggestions for improvement. Profile:
To begin with, it important to get familiarize with the characteristics of a typical ‘consumer husband’ versus the typical mail-order bride. Statistically, 94 percent of consumer husbands of the MOB industry are white, of average age of 37 and living in the United States, with Australia, and Canada to follow (Langivan, 85). Other features to include here are that most are well-educated , middle-class , conservative, divorced, and interested in having children (Lindee). As for mail order brides, on the other hand, since 1998, the Philippines while supplying up to 20,000 women each year to male foreigners, has been the leading exporter of mail order brides (70%) with Russia and Ukraine to follow (D’Aoust, 7-8). The circumstances pushing women to become mail-order brides vary and will be further elaborated in the next section, but what is common among these women is that they want to escape their current living deprivations – monetary and/or otherwise. Therefore the idea of living in First World Countries appeals to these women in that they are lands of opportunity that can provide the prospect of improving their lot and that of their families (Langevin, 104). The MOB industry provides an express route for women who otherwise would not meet the educational and financial requirements to officially immigrate (Langevin, 104).
There are various push and pull factors that create the supply and demand of mail-order brides (Nikolic-Ristanovic, 128). Supply and demand are often motivated by current structural factors present in the countries supplying MOBs (Nikolic-Ristanovic, 128). Poverty is fundamental structural factor common among these countries and is usually linked to other causes for low quality of life. In Philippines case for example, poverty is stemmed from high foreign debt leading to high levels of unemployment as well as malnutrition which are primary driving forces of emigration (Langevin, 90). Statistics show that over 70% of Pilipino women live in poverty-like conditions (at or under $2 a day) (Langevin, 90).
Poverty and chaos that struck the relatively affluent supply countries of Eastern Europe and former Soviet Union following the fall of Communism, has lead to deteriorating living conditions and much uncertainty about the future (Langevin, 90). Since economic inequality is gendered, women can...
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