Get rid of shameful bannersIn its latest human trafficking report, the U.S. State Department cited an advertising banner related to international marriage, seen in many parts of Korea, and said it promoted human trafficking.
The report included a picture of the banner, which read, “Vietnamese ― They Don’t Run Away! ― International Marriage Specialist,” pointing out that the ads are “presenting girls and women from less-developed Southeast Asian countries as commodities.”
It is so shameful.
Such banners, which mostly hang in local areas where single males have trouble finding spouses, give the impression that South Korea takes commercializing women for granted.
Other banner advertisements cited by the report said that it costs “just 7.8 million won ($8,400) to marry a Vietnamese virgin,” “One hundred percent success, even for a 65-year-old man” and “These women are devoted to only one man,” making it sound as if they were selling products rather than arranging lifetime spouses.
Such distorted information also encourages Korean men to have the wrong attitudes toward marriage, which should be considered prudently. Women’s rights’ groups in Korea have long called for local governments to remove such banners.
Under the current law, the head of a municipal government is required to regulate advertisement banners that offend public morality.
Some of the banners, in fact, have been taken away following recent efforts by local governments. But that does not mean international marriages, or infringement on human rights, are on the decline.
International marriages arranged by some unethical brokers are still infringing on various human rights. The government, led by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, is trying to counter the problem with a comprehensive measure, which has in turn been criticized as being ineffective.
The issue might grow into serious diplomatic conflict between Korea and Southeast Asian countries. Local governments should waste no time to remove such embarrassing banners. The central government also needs to come up with solutions immediately to curb such international marriages, then put them into action.