Saturday, 28.6.2008: Stop Abuse of Cambodian Brides; Khmer Ambassador to South Korea: Cambodian Women Are Not Goods

Posted on 28 June 2008. Filed under: Week 566 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 566

“Phnom Penh: In recent years, Cambodian women had married foreign men and they were often abused in many different ways, such as through trafficking and exploitation. After many women had married to Taiwan, Cambodian women started to marry to South Korea, and some are being mistreated by their husbands and families. That is why the Cambodian Ambassador to South Korea reacted strongly that Cambodian women are not goods, and he asked to stop the abuse of Cambodian brides.

“Mr. Lim Samkol, Cambodian ambassador to South Korea, spoke to the Korea Times – and his words were published early this month – asking South Korean citizens to accept Cambodian brides as new members of their families, and he asked them to try to understand and forgive them for some expressions of culture shock.

“He said that Cambodian women are not goods. He said so, because most Cambodian women who got married to live in South Korea were married after Korean men had spent money to arrange these marriages.

“Previously Mr. Han Kuk-Yom, the president of the Women Migrant Human Rights Center, had told the New York Times that that government does not guarantee to protect the rights of the Korean men’ wives who are immigrants or to protect them from mistreatment. He said that Korean men believe that they are allowed to mistreat their wives, because they had spent much money to the tourist companies or for the marriage arrangement; and they always look down on women from poor countries.

“Mr. Han Kuk-Yom said, ‘Three years ago, women were taught before they were sent to Korea, but now they did not get much education, so they need to spend much time to grow accustomed to their lives in Korea, such as learning Korean and other traditions.

“According to the International Organization for Migration, Mr. John McGeoghan said that Korean men seek wives in foreign countries, because they cannot find wives in their country. Most of them are farmers or fisherman, or they have families in rural areas. He added that most men got married through marriage agencies or matchmakers, or by their own arrangements, and they get married with women who are Chinese, Japanese, Philippinas, or Thai; and the weddings are often celebrated in Christian churches. At present, most international marriages are with women from developing countries in the region, such as China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Mongolia, Thailand, and Cambodia.

“Mr. John McGeoghan told Khmer Sthapana that the state of being victimized is easily caused by the unbalance of the economic situations that can lead to the exploitation to foreign women by treating them unequally, including discrimination, violence, and the abuse of women’s rights. According to a report of the Ministry of Health and Welfare of Korea, 37% of international immigrant women got fake information about their husbands, including about mental health, 28% got fake information about the income of their partners, 21% lied that they are wealthy, and 20% got cheated by giving fake job information about their future husbands.

“Mr. John McGeoghan said last month in the World Vision organization in Phnom Penh that, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare of Korea, 31% were verbally abused, 26.5% were physically abused, 23.1% were sexually abused, and 18.4% were abused by threats.

“According to the index of the International Organization for Migration, the number of brides marrying Korean men increased dramatically: in 1990 there were only 619 foreign brides counted, and in 2005 there were 31,180. According to the Korea Times, there are 2,564 Cambodian women married to Korean men.

“Late March 2008, the Cambodian government stopped temporarily all marriages between Cambodian women with foreign men after many irregularities were found.

“In May, in a meeting of a working group against human trafficking at the World Vision organization, the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Ms. You Ay, said, ‘Cambodian girls are not goods,’ but previously, marriages to foreign countries had shown irregularities, because they were made not according to the marriage law, and they did not respect Khmer traditions; and the ways in which the matchmakers choose women shows extreme exploitation – Korean men gave them US$15,000 to US$20,000, but the brides got only US$300 to US$1,000.

“Ms. You Ay added ‘I want marriages based both on love and on the hearth, but not that marriages happen for money.’

Khmer Sthapana has contacted victimized women married to Korea and was told that most of the Khmer women marrying Korean men received only US$300 to US$1,000, while the Korean men spent US$15,000 to US$20,000. If women were beautiful, they received US$700 to US$1,000. These women thought that their marriages are like winning a lucky draw and expected that they would be able to send some money home to improve their families’ livelihood.

“However Ms. K.S.A. aged 19, in Svay Teab, Chamkar Leu, Kompong Cham, said that her expectation dissolved like water; she was mistreated by her mother-in-law and finally she had decided to return to her country like a widow with a four-month-old child.

“As for Ms. V., aged, 23, she told Khmer Sthapana last week that she and her sister live in Rolea B’ier, Kompong Chhnang, and married Korean men last year. Now, she got divorced from her Korean husband, because he has epilepsy and his mother mistreated her. Before the matchmaker had told her that everything was alright.

“Cambodia and Korea have cooperated since 1997. Since 2004, the number of Korean tourists visiting Cambodia ranked first. Now there are Cambodian people working and staying in Korea, and the number of Cambodian brides is approximately 2,500.

“Mr. Lim Samkol, 60, who is the Cambodian ambassador to Korea since 2004, finally said, ‘I expect that more and more Koreans can come to visit Cambodia.’” Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #35, 28.6.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 28 June 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1679, 28.6.2008

  • [Minister of Foreign Affairs] Hor Namhong Withdrew Court Case against [Editor-in-Chief of Moneaksekar Khmer] Dam Sith, but He Continues to Sue [Opposition Party President] Sam Rainsy at a French Court
  • The Cambodian People’s Party Will Be Listed as Member of a Center for Democratic Institutions [according to an official of the Council of Ministers]
  • When the Election Campaign Season Approaches, Small Parties Complain about Having No Money [for campaigning]
  • Price of Crude Oil Increases Dramatically to a New Record of US$142 per Barrel
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Samak Got Through the No-Confidence Votes by Earning 280 Support Votes against 162 Opposing Votes [27 June 2008]
  • Three US Soldiers and Thirty Five Iraqi People Died by Suicide Bombing


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #35, 28.6.2008

  • Stop Abuse of Cambodian Brides; Khmer Ambassador to South Korea: Cambodian Women Are Not Goods
  • Policies of Most Parties Focus on Garment Workers [because they are important force for political parties to be elected]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3498, 28-29.6.2008

  • Prince Ranariddh Blames the Strongman [Mr. Hun Sen] and Donor Countries for the Problem that He Is Not Able to Return to the Country for the Election Campaign
  • Money Invested by China in Cambodia Is Very High [approx. US$1,700 million], but Khmer Citizens Do Not Gain Much Benefits


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4627, 28.6.2008

  • 2.8% of [Cambodian] Children Who Receive Life Extending Medicines [Anti-retroviral drugs (ARV)] Are Facing Difficulties to Get these Medicines Which Are Expensive
  • Singapore Company [Asiatic Group] Invests US$475 Million in Electricity Sector in Phnom Penh [it will operate in 2009 and it expects to earn US$4.8 million each year – according Reuters]
  • Mines in Bar Tangsu, Pailin, Are Mostly Made in China
  • Bush: North Korea Will Be Withdrawn from the Black List of Terrorism Supporting States after It Released Information about Its Nuclear Program


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3345, 28.6.2008

  • Hor Namhong Thinks that Thai Political Parties Take the Preah Vihear Issue as Their Internal Struggle
  • Case of Ms. Chea Ratha [who is related to the acid attack on Ms. In Soklida’s aunt] Is Being Forgotten

Have a look at the last editorial – it is almost frightening to see to which extent there are strong emotions, disregarding related legal documents.

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