Eager to find true love? Desperate perhaps? Or are you looking for a young, exotic bride to show off to all your friends and make them drool? Maybe you just want someone to clean up after you, cook for you, and voice no objections? Enroll today in a special class hosted by A Foreign Affair, an international "dating" website, to discuss the truth behind the booming mail order bride industry, dispel negative rumors about it and the men who seek it out, and learn how to find your soul mate in the far reaches of Russia, Asia, and Latin America. You are just a drop-down menu away from happily ever after ... A Foreign Affair recently hosted one such class in Phoenix, AZ, for any and all interested men to learn the ins and outs of the foreign wife search. But if we're going to speak the truth about mail order brides, as the company promises, let's be straight forward and not sugarcoat the issue. Hardly reminiscent of the 1948 classic romantic comedy A Foreign Affair, this company, and the industry at large, make it easy for men to exploit vulnerable women looking for an escape from the often dire situations in which they live.
Many times, women enter into these negotiations blindly without any real knowledge of the man they are marrying, despite some protections that were recently put in place through the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act that require the grooms to go through background checks and the brides to sign consent forms before any personal information is given to the men. Even with these laws and regulations, though, how well can we ever really know someone we've only met online? Many men who spend time on these sites are looking for women who will be submissive; someone who can be exploited. They know full well that once here, their wives have nowhere else to turn and won't go running to the authorities; if they do, they risk ending their marriage and being forced to return to the harsh realities they chose to leave behind. Domestic violence thus becomes a major problem.
And there's hard evidence that the husbands do take advantage of their wives' vulnerability. According to Amnesty International, a 2003 survey found that more than half of legal assistants working with victims of domestic violence had worked with women who met their abusive husbands on the internet through sites like A Foreign Affair, known as International Marriage Brokers (IMBs).
IMBs help strip the freedom of these women who come to the U.S. hoping for a better life; they give them false hope of a better future and a new beginning; and they help predators find their next victims. While not all young women suffer at the hands of their husbands, these marriages still pose a great risk. Let's not let companies like A Foreign Affair profit from the misconceptions about the industry, and let's make sure we're all aware of the dangers involved and the vulnerability of the women