Dearth of wives for Chinese men prompts bride trafficking

Dearth of wives for Chinese men prompts bride trafficking
An NGO staffer in Phnom Penh interviews Cambodian women who were allegedly forced to marry Chinese men.

PHNOM PENH -- China's one-child policy is skewing the nation's sex ratio, making it almost impossible for many men to find wives and causing some of them to marry women trafficked from Southeast Asian countries.

In 1979, Beijing introduced a policy that prohibited Chinese parents to have more than one child in a bid to curb the nation's surging population and avoid potential food shortages. People who violated the policy had to pay substantial fines.

The result? The family planning policy accelerated both low birth rates and longevity, resulting in a labour shortage as well as an uneven sex ratio.

Chinese parents usually prefer boys over girls. Traditionally, boys have been welcomed as future wage earners as well as heirs. It is estimated that by 2020 there will be 30 million more Chinese men in the prime marrying age than women.

Seeing business opportunities, some Chinese companies have started importing wives from Southeast Asian countries.

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