It’s often been used for a quick laugh in a comedy sketch on sitcoms or cartoons, but mail-order grooms do exist and it is no laughing matter. The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) reported that they have recently been receiving complaints from male victims of the mail order bride scheme. According to CFO reports, they’ve received male complainants from time to time and that male victims of the mail order bride scheme will have a harder time pursuing a complaint in court in case of abuse by their spouses. This is all due to the existing Anti Mail Order Bride Law that only covers female victims.
“We have been getting two to three of such cases a month and a majority of the complainants were women, but there were also male complainants from time to time,” CFO chief emigrant service officer Golda Myra Roma said in an interview.
She explained that male victims of the mail order bride scheme will have a harder time pursuing a complaint in court in case of abuse by their spouses because the existing Anti Mail Order Bride Law only covers female victims.
Even for women victims of the scheme, Roma said most of the complaints do not reach the court.
“We have assisted a Filipina who married a Korean national through mail order bride scheme in filing a case against her husband in 2001,” Roma said.
Male victims can only prosecute for abuse, under the Anti-Human Trafficking law.
“The existing law is very restrictive because it only covers Filipinas and that it should be proven that there is remuneration, a third party was involved in the introduction to the foreign national,” Roma said. “Our only remedy for male victims at this time is the anti-trafficking law, but under such regulation, we have to prove abuses unlike in the mail order bride law.”
To minimize the incidence of Filipinos entering into brokered marriages, the CFO has been providing counseling services for Filipinos who are marrying foreigners.
CFO data showed that some 400,000 Filipinos had married foreign nationals since 1989, most of them to Americans, Japanese and Australians. Ninety-four percent of Filipinos married to foreigners since then were female, while 5 percent were males. Less than one percent entered into same sex marriage.
CFO has lined up a series of activities this month in observance of the Overseas Filipinos Month and International Migrants Day.
This past year, I’ve been very vocal about human trafficking issues and these reports go to show that anyone can be affected by these gross schemes. For more on this story, click here.