Lack of Brides in China is Increasing Border Bride Trafficking

In recent years, many women from Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, and other countries surrounding China, have seen abductions increase. The reason being that men in China are unable to find brides. It’s been reported that “30 million more men than women will reach adulthood and enter China’s mating market by 2020” (Rob Brooks). This is due to the one-child per-household policy held by the Chinese government. Many of the female babies have been aborted in the past several years due to the cultural preference for son heirs. The one-child per-household policy will make it even more difficult in years to come for men to find wives if they live in China.

This epidemic has led many men to purchase women from across the border after they have been abducted, so they can become their wives. Women who are taken are not allowed to leave until they are married to the man, once they are married they can try and find their way back home. However, many do not come with the financial resources necessary to escape these conditions, and it is sometimes difficult for these women to make it back to their home countries.

Those who run the trafficking industry at the border usually con women into going on ‘dates,’ and pick them up for the evening. However, once they have been picked up, they are usually drugged by having a spiked drink. Many are abused, and then sold into a marriage. However, some escape before marriage by those in the surrounding areas where they stay before being sold. There is a high demand for wives in the countryside where men live that are disabled or handicapped, they are unable to find wives and are willing to pay whatever it takes to have one. Some women are underage, the legal age to marry in China is 20. However, traffickers know that when a woman is from across the border it is unlikely that the marriage will be registered – meaning the traffickers are looking for women of any age. With the increasing popularity of Facebook and other social media sites, many traffickers are finding girls as young as 15 to be taken for marriages. They prime them through social media and say they can meet up with a ‘boyfriend’ or ‘friend,’ in order to lure them into their trap. It is becoming more and more popular as the time goes on because of the high price ($15,000 on average) being paid for the young girls to become brides.

The trafficking has grown tremendously despite Chinese government claims that they are trying to prevent these kidnappings from happening. Many say that they are doing about as good of a job as those in South Sudan and Turkmenistan, which have very high rates of trafficking. Due to village people at the border, many women do not get assistance in returning to their home countries. Villagers at the border are sensitive toward buyers, especially those who have disabilities and do not help the women escape these awful conditions. Even North Korean women have been brought into China and sold as wives.

Despite trafficking and forced marriage rates continuing to rise. Many women from Vietnam and other surrounding countries are willing to marry Chinese men. Especially women who have come from families with little means, and are desperate to change their economic status in the world. The promise of a better life is very attractive to some women, but to those forced into marriages do not find that life attractive or promising.

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