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Cambodian Ban Step in the Right Direction to Combat Human Trafficking

Cambodia has temporarily barred South Korean men from marrying Cambodian women. The ban, imposed earlier this month, came after Cambodian police arrested a woman for allegedly trafficking 25 women and for about 100 US dollars each, reports Asia Pacific News.

The ban will eventually be lifted, but the government plans to first install an efficient screening mechanism to prevent cases of trafficking and prove that South Korean men are single and do not have a criminal record. John McGeoghan, project coordinator for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), said the ban was a positive step and was quoted in the Phnom Penh Post as saying “It’s good to see the Cambodian government is taking this issue seriously.”

The South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Friday that the ban pertains only to South Korean men because nearly 60 percent of international marriages in Cambodia involve Korean nationals, and most of them are arranged through brokers.

There was a similar ban imposed in 2008 after the International Organization for Migration released a report indicating that marriage brokers were making profitable business from supplying Cambodian brides to South Korean men; the ban lasted eight months. Though Cambodia has banned marriage brokerage since that time, the Washington Post reports that the number of Cambodian women marrying Korean men has more than doubled from 551 in 2008 to 1,372 last year.

Sources:

Asia Pacific News 3/21/10; Phnom Penh Post 3/22/10; Yonhap News 3/19/10; Washington Post 3/19/10

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