here comes the [mail order] bride trafficking [#ICSEX]

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

September 9, 2010

I know that this one won’t make me the most popular kid on the block. And I want to start by saying that not everyone who goes this route should be classified as having the same motives. However, the mail-order bride business is a big one where abuses can often be overlooked.

Typically, there are two types of opportunities for men who are looking overseas for wives:

(1) Contact information sales
Some agencies simply sell the contact information for women that men choose on a website. These agencies typically ‘encourage’ the men and women to correspond for a period of time before meeting each other in person as a means of determining compatibility. However, many of these agencies will write letters on behalf of the women.

(2) Group tours
Other agencies offer opportunities for men to travel to other countries and attend parties and social events designed for them to connect with the women.  Men can meet and spend time with hundreds of different women in order to choose someone that they would like to pursue a relationship with.

I recently saw an amazing documentary on Current TV about this issue called Bride Trafficking Unveiled. It attempts to answer the question, “are mail order brides simply trafficked women who are being exploited by legal loopholes?”

You can watch the full episode right here…

Here’s the deal… Not all men who meet their wives this way are sleaze-bags. Not all women who find husbands this way are victims. But there seems to be very little international regulation on this sort of activity.

Yeah, I know that there’s some regulation in the United States to protect these women from being victims of violent crimes. But that doesn’t mean that many of these women aren’t being ‘legally’ trafficked into physically, sexually, and emotionally abusive relationships.

What do you think? Should the mail-order bride industry be labeled as a form of human trafficking? What about the good relationships that result from it? Are the women victims being bought and sold while being fed (often) false hopes and dreams? Who’s doing something about this? What can/should be done?

This post is part of The Idea Camp‘s blogging series on Sexuality. This week is Slavery Week where we discuss the issues of sex slavery, human trafficking, and forced prostitution. Check out more of my posts for this project here.


  1. Denadyer

    Dan, you get me thinking about things I’ve never given mind-space to before. And that’s a good thing! Whenever you’re ready, I’d love for you to send me a guest post on trafficking. And, just so you know, you seriously rock, DUDE! *fistbump*

    • @bibledude

      This is an aspect of human trafficking that people rarely think about, probably because it’s difficult to actually label it as buying/selling of human life or slavery. But women regularly give themselves into this with a rtomanticized ideal of life in the Western world and thinking that they’ll be able to send lots of money back home to their families. Western men are esentially taking advantage of their poverty in order to find themselves a ‘suitable’ sex-partner.

      I’ve been thinking and praying about what I would write for your site, and I think that I have some great ideas! Now, I just have to get them down on ‘paper’ to send over to you. I think you’ll like it!

      Thanks Dena! You rock dude! #fistbump


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here comes the [mail order] bride trafficking [#ICSEX]

by Dan King time to read: 2 min