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.