Cambodia bans marriage to Koreans

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Cambodia bans marriage to Koreans

The Cambodian government has imposed a provisional ban on international marriages with Koreans, citing fears of human trafficking, an official at the Korean embassy in Cambodia said yesterday.

“The Cambodian government has informed the South Korean embassy in Cambodia early this month that it will suspend receiving applications for international marriage between Cambodians and South Koreans,” the official told Yonhap News Agency by phone. “The government again confirmed this in a formal document sent to the embassy on March 5.”

The restriction pertains only to South Korea because nearly 60 percent of international marriages in Cambodia involve Korean nationals, and most of them are arranged through brokers, the official said. Cambodia has banned marriage brokerage since 2008, allowing only “love matches.” Yet the number of Cambodian women marrying Korean men still more than doubled from 551 in 2008 to 1,372 last year.

The latest measure came amid news reports in the Southeast Asian nation that a clampdown on marriage brokers in Vietnam has made neighboring Cambodia the new destination for Korean men seeking to “buy” wives. They denounced the practice of men choosing mainly poor women as wives, calling it human trafficking. Last September, a Cambodian matchmaker was sentenced to 10 years in prison for arranging meetings between a Korean man and 25 prospective brides.

The official said the embassy will try to make the Cambodian government understand that many of the Cambodian wives voluntarily come to Korea. Yonhap

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