Bride Trafficking in Asia

| July 11, 2016

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In the late 1970s, the Chinese government fearing that their population may grow to “unsustainable” heights introduced a number of measures to reduce the country’s birth rate and slow the population growth rate. The most important of the new measures was a one-child policy. This policy, established in 1979, mandated that each couple was allowed just one child.

Though staged with rebellion, the government achieved what they wanted as growth rate fell from 1.0 percent to 0.7 per cent a year.

While the government felt happy that their policy was bearing fruit, they were oblivious of the dangers or rather acted indifferently to some of the dangers this policy generated.

Prime among the evils committed then were forced abortions. Pregnant women who had more than a child had forced abortions done on them while many were sterilised, after the birth of a child. Abortion then degenerated to selective sex abortion, due to the traditional preference for boys; large numbers of female babies have ended up homeless or in orphanages, and in some cases killed. In 2000, it was reported that 90 per cent of foetuses aborted in China were female. As a result, the gender balance of the Chinese population has become distorted. Today it is thought that men outnumber women by more than 60 million.

Despite calls by the European Union condemning the Human Rights infractions in China, the Chinese Government remained unperturbed. Interestingly, the United States and the United Nations despite calls to caution China, kept both ears closed.

After perpetuating this heinous policy for 35 years, the Government finally faced reality when they realised that the sex imbalance caused by the sex selective abortions was having a bad effect on the country as the country is gradually becoming too male and too old and would become worse in future if a solution wasn’t provided. In 2015, the one child was modified, but it was too late, the damage had already been done.

Not only are there fewer Chinese women, marrying the few women is very expensive, bride price ranges from $15,000 to over $30,000. Between 2020 and 2050, some scholars estimate that 15% of Chinese men will not find a wife. There is even a rumour that a new law which will take effect from 2018 seeks to restrict Chinese women from marrying non-Chinese so as to enable Chinese men find Chinese wives. The “wife scarcity” is becoming glaring by the day.

To fill this “wife scarcity”, there are a lot of trafficking chains in the neighbouring countries like Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia which serve as the “source countries”

Recently, CNN exposed the Vietnamese-Chinese trans-border human trafficking chain which specialises in kidnaping Vietnamese brides. These girls as young as 13, say they are tricked or drugged, then spirited across the porous border by boat, motorbike or car and they are sold off to Chinese men hungry for wives. This Vietnamese-Chinese trade is gaining momentum, because it is posited that Chinese men are more comfortable with Vietnamese girls since they share more cultural things in common.

The population Bomb designed by Paul Ehrlich in 1968 has not yet detonated. What has blown with the effect of Hiroshima is the Human Rights infractions; from interfering in a family right to determine the number of children, to forced abortion and sterilisation in 1979 to human trafficking and government interference on who can marry who in 2016.

All these infractions will continue until the Governments realise their limitations and accept that they cannot be nor play God.