Cambodia Imposes Age & Income Limits on Foreign Marriage, Vietnam Next?

The Cambodian government bans foreign men from marrying Cambodian women unless they are 50 years or younger and have a monthly income of at least $2550. Should Vietnam do the same?


Image Source: BBC

While the debate in America around who should be allowed to marry based on gender and identity rages on, Cambodians are debating an entirely different marriage issue centered on the global issue of human trafficking. The Cambodian government has decided to enact a new policy banning foreign men from marrying Cambodian women unless the men are 50 years in age or younger and have a monthly income of at least $2550.

As Southeast Asian societies have become more westernized and open, Vietnam and Cambodia especially have seen an increase in foreign marriages–some of which are seen as an easy way for foreign men to take advantage of young women or as a guise for human trafficking. An article by NPR, entitled ‘’Cambodia Tries to Curb Foreign Men Seeking Wives’’, explores the law and its consequences.

What kind of effect will this have, if any on human trafficking? Will other SE Asian countries like Vietnam begin adapting similar human trafficking policies if the Cambodian government deems the policy a success?

There is no doubt human trafficking remains a difficult, mammoth problem in SE Asia, but does this new measure help to minimize the demand of human trafficking or is this a step back for a country still recovering from its painful past? The law has already inspired debate among activists both inside and outside of Cambodia. We will have to wait and see the reaction from Cambodian women and foreign men who may find their union of love out of sync with the law.

This is a guest post from Vivien Dinh: an aspiring do-gooder, writer, and lover of french macarons from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her focus is on raising awareness about human trafficking in Southeast Asia.  Vivien obtained her Masters in International Social Development at the University of New South Wales, Australia.
 

  • Anonymous

    We very much doubt the laws will have a significant impact on human trafficking issues. While marriage might indeed prevent some level of international human trafficking, how will it prevent it on an internal level? When young women from the countryside are lurned to Phnom Penh with promises of work, and end up in brothels attempting to pay off a “debt” to their traffickers, it still constitutes as trafficking.  Furthermore, we fail to see how this will alleviate Cambodia’s significant problem with child prostitution.

    Ultimately, trafficking and purchasing the services of trafficked women are not activities limited to men over 50. Surely there are more effective ways to protect the women of Cambodia.

    • http://twitter.com/livhoang Olivia Hoang

      Yes, it stems from economic instability as much as a problem of morals.  If there were enough for these girls to live on, they wouldn’t be lured into these kinds of conditions.

      • Malaria Survivor

        It’s entirely a moral problem. The underage girls are either lured by traffickers (immoral), or sold off by their parents (immoral) for financial gain. It’s not a financial problem. There are more poor people in the world who do not descend to immoral behavior to live, than those who do.
         

      • Samnang

        So what your say is that it’s ok for a 40 something year old man to go to your country and mine or any other countries,to have their way with these young girls,because they have money in their pockets? That is wrong.Their parents must be doing some thing right to raise a newborn all the to their teens on a 100 dollars a month salary,so that later some foreigner can go there to sexually asault their little girls or boys.I see your pix,I’ll bet your born somewhere in america.And you never been to any of those countries in asia.Economic stability and living conditions does have a part in what’s going on over there.But the sole reason is these perverts know where to go in our countries with little money to get a child for a night.and they nor their parents know any better,,because of lack of education.

      • Mao Meng12

        I want to talk to everybody who read this website, about CAMBODIA NEW RULE OF MARRIAGE.
        1)All adults, Men or Women, who have sex with a minor, must be condemned a same way like the development country in the works, not exception.
        2)To protect the victim from the human Traficant, Cambodian government needs educate this people to have a minimum knowledge to measure the consequence (pros and cons) of leaving Cambodia.
        3) When these adults finish her obligation education, she must be free like adults, human and full of responsible for her future and her family.
        4)To be firm and punish to any kind of corruption for the laws to be valuable. The new rules of marriage on March 2011, is very idiot, absurd, and dangerous for Cambodian lady, family and Country.
        Everybody knows that, normal people get more and richer when they get older. Good, moral, good money and good health, is nothing wrong, young and poor nothing wrong, if they considered a good or standard people.
        I am more than 50 years old, never have children, retire from Federal Government. During this few years, I go to Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. I get a good time with these girls.
        I want to marry to my Cambodian girl, she say “ I have  a right to do the PROSTITUTION, but I not have a right to marry a men more than 50 years old”, I am consider like the female pig or dog that my OWNER must say yes or no. It is the future of CAMBODIAN lady !!!!.  She added, Honey go to Vietnam or Thailand, you marry who you want, most of them are more beautiful than me, and sure you do not make a risk to get a blood from Khmer Rouge, in Cambodia, you have some risk. Make a lot of children, give them a good education. 25 years later, ask your Children send some dollars to this Prostitution.
        She cried and said, forgot me, as a Cambodian lady, I have a right to do PROSTITUTION, but I do not have the right to marry a man who I love. My mom said” If there are one or two suspect in the group of people, whatever a number kill all of them” that is the Khmer Rouge practiced, to prevent the Traficant of  human, banned all of Cambodian female to marry to over sea men more than 50 Years old.

      • Samnang

        So what your say is that it’s ok for a 40 something year old man to go to your country and mine or any other countries,to have their way with these young girls,because they have money in their pockets? That is wrong.Their parents must be doing some thing right to raise a newborn all the to their teens on a 100 dollars a month salary,so that later some foreigner can go there to sexually asault their little girls or boys.I see your pix,I’ll bet your born somewhere in america.And you never been to any of those countries in asia.Economic stability and living conditions does have a part in what’s going on over there.But the sole reason is these perverts know where to go in our countries with little money to get a child for a night.and they nor their parents know any better,,because of lack of education.

  • MalariaSurvivor

    Laws can have a positive effect on reducing human sex trafficking –so long as they are enforced! If a country enacts laws against sex trafficking be prepared to enforce them; otherwise it is morally culpable to these young female victims!

  • http://thirstythong.blogspot.com Chim

    Having the word “morality” in one’s lexicon, is a privilege best enjoyed by those who can comment in English, on a laptop, in a cafe, before tonight’s dinner date at that new restaurant found on Yelp.

  • MalariaSurvivor

    The idea of right and wrong behavior is not a privilege to be enjoyed by some people, especially if right and wrong behavior affects the lives of human beings in every culture.
     

    • http://thirstythong.blogspot.com Chim

      Hunger only knows hunger.

      • MalariaSurvivor

        If hunger is a valid reason to sell another human being for money, then you must accept the following consequences: An innocent life filled with psychological devastation, sexual promiscuity now seen as normal by the victim, and the spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
        /Don’t fool yourself.

      • http://thirstythong.blogspot.com Chim

        Finger down.

        Teach men to be better men in creative ways.If met with failure, make penalties of breaking laws a hefty penalty, especially financial.Capitalism has proven to be more powerful than morality. Destroy the beast, then we can talk morality.

  • MalariaSurvivor

    @Chim: … There is nothing creative in bribing men to moral behavior using financial penalties. Financial penalties against immoral behavior don’t work. History shows they doesn’t work. Stockbroker Bernie Madoff scammed thousands of people for many years without the slightest fear of suffering a financial penalty from the Government –because he simply didn’t think he would get caught.
    /Human sex trafficking is a mammoth problem in SE Asia only because it’s tolerated in SE Asia.

  • HN

    I don’t see how this new marriage regulation would have any affects on human trafficking. 

    Documents can easily be forged to bypass this regulation.  There aren’t enough resources to verify all these documents, especially if they come from oversea.  Ex: IRS would not cooperate with a country like Cambodia to verify its citizen’s income. 

    American government can’t even account for all the forged documents, how can Cambodia?

    Look older than 50? No problem, throw in a few $$ and the Cambodian officer who’s getting $100 paycheck a month will approve right away.  Sad but true.

    Trafficking is illegal.  If one is willing to do something illegal, why bother to comply with any regulations. 

    In conclusion, older foreign guys who honestly want to marry a Cambodian girl will have a difficult time qualifying and those who want to exploit will continue to exploit.

    Cambodia should focus on its economic infrastructures, which is a better way to fight poverty and human trafficking. 

    Good effort but probably a waste of time.

    • MalariaSurvivor

      I like your wise thinking on this matter; you must be older than 40-years. :p
      Cambodia can only combat human sex trafficking by creating laws against human sex trafficking, –and then enforcing them.
      /Human sex trafficking is a problem only where it’s tolerated.

    • Samnang

      I agree with (HN).all of this is a waste of time,But it will somehow in some way slow down the trafficking.But they should banned all marriages that involves an older foreigner who’s age exceeds of more than 10 years of the cambodian spouse.Face it,the only reason why younger cambodian (GIRLS) marry a foreigner who’s old enough to be their fathers,is to leave the poverty that they are in,and their volnurable,and these men’s are a bunch of perverts who likes to prey on the less fortunate to fulfill their desires of younger females.And the income of a possible good spouse from a foreign country should not matter if the spouse have a job and no older than 10 years of the other spouse..And  2550 income a month is kinda ridiculous for a person who have a regular job.I’m saying this is because I’m the spouse who have a cambodian fiancee who is waiting for me for almost 3 years now because of the rules and regulations that both sides have.I understand what they are trying to do.But also take a good look at those who are marrying because they really are in love.What I’m trying to say is (1) 29-50 year old guy to a 18 year girl!! NO…(2) Income of 2550 or more!!!! NO….

  • Thangpv1279

    Good idea! It shout good for women.
    http://kenhnhansu.com

    • Sambath-huy

      Please show me why is good, I will show you is crazy law, and destroy a Cambodia. I am agree to crackdown a human traficcant, but not this idiot way and rules.

      The Cambodian lady are not a female pig or dog that the owner choice the male for them. Why do not create a rules that Cambodian lady cannot do the Prostitution, it is sham full that your dauther cannot marry 50 years man, but she can do the PROSTITUTION, it is CAMBODIAN only !!!. Good luck for your family !!!

  • stupid plan

    Not clear is that money you you have to make in a western country or in cambodia…job listed at the moment on Bong thom for Cambodian workers …social worker $150-$200 a month so where do you get a wage of over $2000 …manager Mercedes Benz…$700….Bank worker £200…working in a bar $60 a month

    • Samphy

      Yes 100% is idiot, stupid, and not sense to create this rules and say to prevent a traficant of human. We need to crakdown the traficant, but not this stupid way. who initiat this idiot rules ? please give me your name and phone number I will call you to show that is completly wrong. There are something simila to this law in this Planet ? if yes give me one !

  • not logical

    I have had a Cambodian girlfriend for 4yrs when i am overseas from Cambodia she has about $400 pluss from me to live she has a cash card so it can vary ..which is very good for nothing….i am 44 gave up a very good wage to be with her .. have a pension which i get no matter what..its short of that stupid amount mentioned ….so what would be better $2000+  which could be taken away at anytime by an employer or a pension that will never go away…mmmmmmmmm also the pension is about 16 times more than a regular Cambodian wage ..i dont get it!!!!!   i could live in cambodia for about $200  i am western i know people that could do it for less but i have standards lol ….so maybe just get a wage that is needed $2250 and get married then jack it in then what???? I think things need to be looked but maybe on individiual merit ….so in 6 more years even if i did have the reqired wage.. i would of been with my girlfriend 10yrs ..and i would not be able to marry her  because i would be to old ……where are human rights with this who can and cannot get married…what if you have a child …could i marry her….it would be the right thing to do in the west

  • Tyleng

    I personally support to the new law or a new policy banning foreign men from marrying Cambodian women unless the men are 50 years in age. Because we are Cambodian people then we have to understand what and how Cambodian women are; 99% of Cambodian women when they get into USA, and so on committed adultery and say ” bye bye daddy”. Therefore, don’t let Cambodian women out of Cambodia via marriage status.

  • Silpat

    Cambodian chix are toooooooooooo hot I ♥ them

  • JERRY

    BUT YOU CAN GET AROUND THIS BY DOING A Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e). (( FOR AMERICA ))

  • dem

    my fiance is a filipina and i am an american due to the lengthy process of getting her here to america and due to severe harsh family conditions we wish to get married in another country not in the philipines and not in america . is there a country in asia or south east asia that we can go to and get married with little difficulty and fairly quickly?