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Union helps women in foreign marriages

Update: September, 27/2012 - 10:35

HAU GIANG (VNS)— The Women's Union in the southern province of Hau Giang is working to make local women aware of potentially dangerous foreign marriages and prepare them to live in foreign countries.

Huynh Thuy Trinh, the union's chairwoman, said that since 2004 the province has seen more than 10,000 foreign marriages. Most of these marriages occurred through an intermediary "hunting" for women - not only in big cities, but also in remote rural areas where the women only got to see their marriage partner once before marriage, if at all. In some cases, women unexpectedly got married to an elderly, disabled or mentally-ill man.

As a result, some women could not stand living with their foreign husbands and left or fled their countries. Children who followed their mothers back to Viet Nam did not have local birth certificates, so they faced difficulties in obtaining health care and education. In some worse cases, women even became victims of human trafficking.

According to local officials, some women who moved to foreign countries with such husbands were mistreated until they became mentally ill.

Hau Giang is considered one of the provinces in the Mekong Delta with the largest number of women marrying foreigners. In most cases, women between 18 and 25 years old who lack education and a stable job accept foreigners' marriage proposals in an attempt to change their lives and help their families escape poverty.

By establishing clubs to enhance local awareness on marriage together with the local department of culture, sports and tourism, the union hopes to lessen these negative effects. The union has also co-ordinated with local police on anti-trafficking tasks.

Trinh said they also worked with the Justice Department to educate local women with the desire to marry foreigners about the potential risks of such a marriage. Those women would be taught foreign languages and advised to immediately provide their families with the husband's contact information. They would also be given the address of the nearest Viet Nam Embassy to their destination, said Trinh. Her union will also provide vocational training to women in disadvantaged areas and offer them access to preferential loans so that they can get involved in farming or set up a small business. By alleviating their poverty this way, they will be less likely to marry foreigners for money.— VNS

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