Prohibition against Mail-Order Brides

You may be aware of the existence of mail-order brides, although you may not be aware that this is an “industry.” According to a study (The “Mail-Order” Bride Industry and its Impact on U.S. Immigration), funded through the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service:

An American man seeking a foreign bride may avail himself of over 200 different services in which foreign women advertise for husbands. There are two types of such services. In one type, the so-called “mail-order bride” industry (representatives of the industry prefer the term “international correspondence service”), women’s names, photos, biographical sketches, and addresses are presented in hard copy brochures or on the Internet. In these services, the agency provides the photos and descriptions of the women, who are not charged for this listing. Men who wish to obtain the mailing address of any of the women they would like to contact are charged a fee of from $2 to $5 for each of the mailing addresses.

The study also notes that the “Philippines provides a large number of the Asian listings, despite the fact that ‘mail-order bride’ activities” have been declared illegal. Indeed, taking measures to protect Filipino women from being exploited in their pursuit of economic upliftment, the Philippine Congress enacted Republic Act No. 6955, which is “An act to declare unlawful the practice of matching filipino women for marriage to foreign nationals on a mail order basis and other similar practices, including the advertisement, publication, printing or distribution of brochures, fliers and other propaganda materials in furtherance thereof and providing penalty therefore.”

The law makes it unlawful for any person, natural or juridical, association, club or any other entity to commit, directly or indirectly, any of the following acts:

(1) To establish or carry on a business which has for its purpose the matching of Filipino women for marriage to foreign nationals either on a mail-order basis or through personal introduction;

(2) To advertise, publish, print or distribute or cause the advertisement, publication, printing or distribution of any brochure, flier, or any propaganda material calculated to promote the prohibited acts in subparagraph 1;

(3) To solicit, enlist or in any manner attract or induce any Filipino woman to become a member in any club or association whose objective is to match women for marriage to foreign nationals either on a mail-order basis or through personal introduction for a fee;

(4) To use the postal service to promote the prohibited acts in subparagraph 1.

The law also makes it unlawful for the “manager or officer-in-charge or advertising manager of any newspaper, magazine, television or radio station, or other media, or of an advertising agency, printing company or other similar entities, to knowingly allow, or consent to, the acts prohibited in the preceding paragraph.”

Any person found guilty by the court to have violated any of the prohited acts shall suffer an imprisonment of not less than six (6) years and one (1) day but not more than eight (8) years, and a fine of not less than Eight thousand pesos (P8,000) but not more than Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000). If the violation is committed by an association, club, partnership, corporation, or any other entity, the incumbent officers who have knowingly participated in the violation shall be held liable. On the other hand, if the offender is a foreigner, he shall be immediately deported and barred forever from entering the country after serving his sentence and payment of fine.

5 thoughts on “Prohibition against Mail-Order Brides

  1. xcyne

    Is it ok to ask for the requirements for fiance visa and how long it would take? Which is better, fiancee visa or marriage visa? Thanks so much. It would help me in a lot of aspects. God bless and more power to your organization.

    Reply
  2. rsalarda

    I find it amusing that Bong Revila’s sensitivity on mail order brides from Actor Alec Baldwin. He should know that our country is well known as a “Mail Order Bride Country”. His reaction towards the actor threatening him with violence “Mayhem” if the actor comes to the Philippines is uncalled for. Such reaction is childish and shows lack of restraint among people who are on power. I believed the best reaction to this is to invite Alec Baldwin to see for himself what our country can offer. Not just in terms of its beauty but also among our people. We as a country have a lot to offer. We may not be rich and powerful as a nation but our heritage, our land and its people are our assets in showcasing it to doubters like Alec Baldwin. Yes, he was arrogant and lack the sensitivity in detailing our flaws, but he did us a big favor by putting the issue front page. As a nation we must show tolerance to such degrading comments so we dont become the issue. I have a message for Mr. Bong Revilla, show mr Baldwin how much our country have change for the better. Invite him to visit and show him that inspite of our problems we are doing everything we can to stop the proliferation of the Mail Order Bride business. That we as people have a lot to offer more than the exploitation of our women. Finally, dont be such a cowboy, and dont threaten anyone with violence especially people who have access to the world. It will create more problems for our people. Remember cowboy’s are a thing of the past, and this type of character has been discredited within the last 8 years. Tough talk must be back-up with wisdom for it to be effective. I give you credit for standing-up to our women, but you must know you are not well known outside the Philippines. Alec Baldwin is a famous actor and I’m sure he doesnt need to visit the our country more than you want to visit the United States. Alec Baldwin doesnt need us, but in this case you may need Alec Baldwin to showcase our country.

    Rsalarda/Magat P

    Reply
    1. Hazel

      HI live in New Zealand and want the woman who took advantage of my mothers death to get my father at a vulnerable state to marry her for a visa and money to be tried in court fore r marriage fraud .can you help me find out who she is and how she managed to find our father and why he sent her hundreds of dollars in advance .she left him when he was old to die alone but sold the family home .since she arrived I have hated the phillipines and her people ,is this ok with you guys .these women are laughed at and held in contempt by the good people in this country so why are they not tried for deception .my mother died at 47 with cancer then my father was used almost straight away by this scammer .

      Reply
  3. Joseph

    Do mail order bride really exist?

    The answer is Yes, and No, it really depends on your definition of mail order brides.

    The historical roots of the mail-order bride industry that emerged in the 1800s in the American frontier:  European American men found financial success in the migration West, but the one thing that was missing was the company of a wife. Very few women lived there at this time, so it was hard for these men to settle down and start a family. They attempted to attract women living back East; the men wrote letters to churches and published personal advertisements in magazines and newspapers. In return, the women would write to the men and send them photographs of themselves. Courtship was conducted by letter, until a woman agreed to marry a man she had never met.[9] Many women wanted to escape their present way of living, gain financial security and see what life on the frontier could offer them. Most of these women were single, but some were widows, divorcees or runaways.

    During most of the 20 century,  the mail order bride continued  with the main method of women putting themselves in catalogs. Then men would view the women’s profile, then for a fee order the women address. These became the main order bride companies business method in the 20 the century, with the fall of the Soviet union and cheap airfares,  these companies  spread from Asian to Eastern  Europe, mainly  now the Ukraine

    Today most women do not leave their countries to escape poverty but to seek a man they believe will be a good husband and  provider, that is family orientated and that looks at women with more respect than in many countries around the world.

    With the advent of the intent, the mail order bride industry boomed  into a billion dollar industry, Now with a few pictures and website, anyone could be in the mail order bride business.   With hundreds of ma and pop shops opening over the last two decade, Most who were clients of one of the three original mail order bride companies,  A Foreign Affair (AFA), Anastasia and EC,  The owner  of ForeignLadies.com  met his wife while working on  a tour  from loveme.com,  A Foreign affair  still today in the largest in the industry, each week they offer tours to one of a dozen countries  China to Peru and everywhere in between.  The industry  grew so fast in 1998, Senator Cantwell of Washington state  introduces legislation to regulate the mail order bride industry.  and a new law Called:  “International Marriage Brokers Act”  or IMBRA was born. With stiff regulations, many companies like Anastasia moved from Bride business to Fantasy Chat.

    Although the industry  strongly objects to the term mail order brides,  saying  there is no difference if   man  in New York courting a woman from California through match.com, then courting a woman from Russia. Critics  like the Terra Justice Center  has a different out look, saying these men take advantage of women oversea. But studies have contradicted these statement and show abuse is actually  lower in these marriages. See “International Marriages – A Report to Congress”

    So why do thousands of women join these site: Elena  Kosalova of the Ukraine says, “Men here are not serious about family,  they expect women to stay home while they go out each night with their  friends and drink. I want  a man who s serious, mature and who wants to be with his wife and family.  I have met Americans in the past and they seem more reliable and mature.”  Elena rejects the idea  she is a “Mail Order Bride”

    Why do men seek  a mail order bride:  James Goodwin, 43 of South Carolina says, ” I  meet women here all the time, but I just can not find the values I am looking for..  I have dated here for more than 20 years, After three days in Kiev, I was shock at how many beautiful women I met that I would consider marrying,  now I am just trying to reduce my options and pick the right one. It truly is the fastest way to find a beautiful sincere women.

    So what is the cost,  the cost can range greatly from site to site and from type of service,  AFA or loveme.com offers everything from letter writing, tours and executive services for the rich and famous. As little as $12 to as much as $25,000.  The owner John Adams say’s the best way is just go over and meet then women, avoid letters and never waste money on expensive chat.  You can meet up to 1000 beautiful women in just 10 days, it will be the greatest vacation of your life. Joe Nail of ForeignLadies.com, has stayed with the traditional  Letter Writing, Each letter is $7.50 and  but say they do plan on offer some limited chat option.

    Many sites like,foreignwomen.com, PhilippineSinges.com, and  UkraineSsingles.com, that offer simple unlimited membership for $29 per month. These type of site also target pacific regions, like Asia, Latin America or Eastern Europe.

    There is  also a site for  mail order grooms; SingleMenOnline.com, that caters to men publishing their photos in hopes to meet an American Bride.

    James Dunn, who is a ghost writer for  review sites says “You  get what you pay for.  Membership sites to do not screen the members at all. so you never know who  you really are writing,  The big boys require the women to apply in person in one of their  local offices. The companies that offer group tours will introduce you to hundreds of beautiful  women, for the cost of $1000 to $3000 depending on location, about the same you would pay for any  vacation.  Several companies also do individual tours these can range from $750 to $1500, But only arrange one to one introductions,  Always make sure they are biased in the USA  or EU,  Most of the complaints  come from small agencies that are desperate and need to make as much as they can from you.  Just a note, if the company is based in an a foreign  country you will have no   recourse if they do not follow through.

    So do mail order  brides exist, If you belive a if a  woman  is a mail order bride if she lives in another   county then Yes, But if you believe it  just another dating option like any on-line dating site, matchmaker or  dating service, than No. . It really seems like a doubled standard in the world,  If a women meets a man in Italy or France,  then oh that is so romantic, but if a man meets a women in Philippines, than …

    Reply
  4. mark

    Trump Brings Prestige to the Mail Order Bride Industry.

    For years, International Marriage Services had to live with the stigma of being referred to as Mail Order Bride services. However, many consider the term “mail-order bride” derogatory and feel it demeans foreign women by comparing them to commodities for sale and falsely implying that (unlike local women), they exercise no judgment over the men they meet and would marry anyone from a relatively wealthy country. Even with the foreign women being labeled as mail order brides these companies have grown in popularity for the past two decades, largely due to the internet. The industry grew at such a fast pace it caught the attention of the US senator Maria Cantwell of Washington State, who in 2006 she pushed a bill through congress known as IMBRA or International Marriage Brokers Regulation Act. Although the intent of Senator Cantwell was clearly meant to put Foreign Bride Companies out of business by severely restricting how men communicate with foreign women. In the end, the companies flourished under the new regulations as these business quickly modified their business models.

    Kenneth Agee, marketing Director for A Foreign Affair one of the largest so called Mail Order Bride Companies says, “We have always had to overcome this label. Since Trump announced his candidacy for president of the United States, the industry saw a significant increase in upscale business men looking for foreign brides. Once he became president, Trump made it the new status symbol of success to be married to an eastern European women. With First Lady Melanie Trump in the White House, opinions about foreign women have dramatically changed. Once men were scorned upon to be married to a women from Russian or the Ukraine, now is seen as prestigious. And we are seeing huge increase of men seeking foreign brides, our client base is up by more than 200% since Trump has taken office. This month alone we will be taking over 100 American men to the Ukraine, mostly very successful executives.” Beside online matchmaking, the company arranges group tours for men that will travel to countries throughout the world. During these tours the men will meet hundreds of pre-screened women during what A Foreign Affair calls “Social Events” or what Kenneth calls speed dating on steroids.

    Critics say these women are just used as arm trophies for business men in America. That men take advantage of the women’s circumstances, both economical and geographical. Kenneth argues, “I would hardly say Melanie Trump has been taken advantage of or refer her to as a Mail Order Bride. Women choose just like the men choose, we are all adults and are responsible for our own choices. It is just that men in America have a good reputation for the way we treat women and how we take care of our families. This opens the door to the men to meet some of the most beautiful women in the world.”

    Trump is not the only high profile person to marry a foreign women, Jeb Bush met his wife in Mexico. Rupert Murdoch former CEO of Fox News married Wendi Deng from China, and the list goes on.

    If Trump accomplishes nothing else during his presidency he has clearly helped one Industry.

    Reply

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