Saturday, 19.4.2008: Marriages to Korea Are Not Human Trafficking

Posted on 20 April 2008. Filed under: Week 556 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 556

Press Release – Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Phnom Penh

“Recently, the Royal Government of Cambodia has suspended the processing of all marriage documents of its citizens who want to marry a foreigner. A senior official of Cambodia was quoted in a newspaper, saying, ‘There are some cases of human trafficking, found in the activities of the marriage industry in Cambodia.’ Another senior official of Cambodia was also quoted, saying, ‘The temporary suspension aims to put a stop to human trafficking under the pretext of marriages.’ The official continued, ‘Seven women returned from South Korea because they could not bear what had happened to them there.’

“The Royal Government of Cambodia reacted immediately on international marriages, after there had been a report by the International Organization for Migration [IOM] related to cases of emergency, as a result of the system of selecting partners for international marriages, which is practiced in Cambodia and in Korea, and there had as well reports in local and international newspapers on these issues, with the key words of ‘human trafficking.’

“The UN definition of ‘human trafficking’ says: “The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation”.

“However, I have so far never heard those words of threats, kidnapping, deception, and abuse by using force, or taking a chance when the victims are weak, or by providing or taking benefits to make the weaker agree with others whom to accept as manager or boss, in an attempt of exploitation in marriages between Cambodians and Koreans. They all married of their own free will, according the procedures of both countries. If the Royal Government of Cambodia believes those brides were sold to Korea, the businesspeople who run marriage companies – both Korean and Cambodian – must be criminals, and they should be caught by the police without delay. But if this is not true, it is completely regrettable that Cambodian officials used the words of ‘human trafficking’ for international marriages between Cambodians and Koreans.

“In fact, it is reported that there are seven women who returned form South Korea, because they could not bear what had happened to them there. If we compare the total number of about 2,500 brides who married Korean men during the period of the last four years, there are only seven women reported to have come back; this is an extremely small number (of less than 0.3 percent). If compared to the increase and the high rate of divorces in modern societies of other countries, it is a shame that the IOM ignores the other 2,493 successful marriages, but it focuses only on a small number of cases that should be treated with extreme care.

“It is also unfortunate that a famous international newspaper had reported, based on the IOM reports, that the grooms have paid up to US$20,000 to matchmakers; while the brides’ families received US$1,000 at the most, and the rest went into the pockets of the matchmakers.

“This is not so. The IOM report said that the Korean men paid between US$5,000 to US$20,000 for the total package tourist service of agents; the grooms paid the brides’ families for traveling and for staying in Phnom Penh, as well as for the wedding gift, from US$300 to US$1,000.

“I would like to express my own view by absolutely rejecting the words ‘human trafficking’ in this context. Truly, there are some aspects of the system of international marriages of selecting partners which need to be improved and corrected. Vast commissions paid, and the limited time for future husbands and wives to understand each other, are among those elements to be changed.

“Moreover, different governments and civil institutions must use their own ideas to help husbands and wives from different ethnic cultures to settle in their target countries well, and to bring with them happiness into their married life in the era of globalization. Efforts to overcome the differences of cultures and to solve misunderstandings in communication are to be of the highest priority.

“Shin Hyun-Suk [ 신현석 ]
“Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Royal Government of Cambodia”
Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4567, 19.4.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 19 April 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1619, 19.4.2008

  • The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia [the Khmer Rouge Tribunal] Will Open the Hearing of Ieng Thirith’s Lawsuit on Monday
  • If Samdech Krom Preah [Prince Norodom Ranariddh] Can Return to Cambodia, There Will Be Talks with the Human Rights Party on Reconciliation
  • Khmer Laborers Rush to Enter Thailand Again to Find Jobs after the Khmer New Year Day
  • China Prepares to Fire Chemicals into the Clouds to Prevent Rain on the Day of the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #136, 19.4.2008

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy and the UN Secretary-General Push the Tribunal to Try Former Khmer Rouge Leaders Soon
  • Mobitel Customers Get Angry with [director general] Kith Meng [because of bad connections]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3438, 19-20.4.2008

  • China Blames Dalai Lama for Wanting to Use the Olympics as a Political Forum
  • National Election Committee Lacks US$2.5 Million, and It Is Concerned about the Price Increases Which Affects Its Budgets


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4567, 19.4.2008

  • Marriages to Korea Are Not Human Trafficking
  • Chinese Ambassador [Ms. Zhang Jinfeng – 张金凤 – Zhāng Jīnfèng] Affirms Positive Points of the Olympics
  • Cuba Interested in Sugar Cane Plantation in Cambodia
  • A General [Um Sam Ath], a Colonel [Nget Vuthy], and a Businessman [Seng Kil] Arrested after Firing Many Bullets Illegally [17 April 2008, Russey Keo, Phnom Penh]
  • Throughout Cambodia during the New Year Day: 59 People Died and Nearly 1,000 Were Injured [in traffic accidents]
  • K.H. Promotions [karaoke] Drops Charges [of contract violation] against [singer] Sok Pisey after She Had a Traffic Accident
  • Nearly 80,000 Khmer Citizens Went to Enjoy New Year Day at the Khmer Ta Moan Temple which Is Controlled by Thailand, also the Ceremony Was Organized by Thailand [Banteay Ampil, Oddar Meanchey]
  • Wedding Turned to Bloodshed: Two Women, One of Them Eight Months Pregnant [and a 15-year-old girl] Shot Dead [by a policeman who tried to stop an argument between two groups of people during a jazz jogging-dancing; policeman escaped – 17 April 2008 – Kompong Siem, Kompong Cham]


Samleng Sadeav, Vol.1, #1, 18.4.2008

  • If There Had Been No 17 April [1975, when Gen. Lon Nol was overthrown by the Khmer Rouge], There Would Not Have Been a 7 January [1979, when Vietnam invaded Cambodia to topple the Khmer Rouge regime]
  • Sam Rainsy Party Plans to Demonstrate a Second Time [to demand decrease of prices of goods]


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3289, 19.4.2008

  • [Telecom Cambodia director] Nhek Kosal Vithyea Has Been Removed [allegedly because of corruption], but [Cambodian Railway director] Sokhom Pheakavanmony, Who Relies on Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, Hasn’t
  • [Many] Customs Officers Continue to [financially] Support Sam Rainsy Party Secretly

Have a look at last week’s editorial: Towards the July National Elections
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[…] cambodiamirror ’s site is fantastic! I thought I’d share the latest post on the site which grabbed my attention: Saturday, 19.4.2008: Marriages to Korea Are Not Human Trafficking […]

[…] Korean Embassy in Phnom Penh issued a statement in April that refuted any claim that Korean people were involved in the trafficking of people. They took […]


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