Over the last decades, marriage migration through matchmaking agencies has become an increasingly prominent trend in the Asian region. Women from Southeast Asian countries, such as Vietnam or Indonesia, are migrating to marry men from higher-income countries in East Asia, such as Taiwan or South Korea. This is one of the very few channels through which migrants may move permanently to the so-called “ethnically homogeneous” East Asian societies, due to the prevalence of restrictive immigration policies in these states. Within this context, the mainstream discourse portrays migrant brides as victims of trafficking and domestic violence, and marriage brokers are represented as exploiters and abusers of these women. The negative image of these matchmaking processes has led to greater restrictions on migration as well as the prohibition of for-profit marriage agencies in most countries within the region. Based on the case of Taiwan, this report will analyze the consequences of these measures and attempt to determine what really makes these migrant women vulnerable to exploitation. In contrast to the mainstream discourse, migrant brides will be recognized as active subjects with bargaining power and capacity to overcome existing challenges. Avoiding moralistic or paternalistic judgement, the focus of inquiry will be the specific needs and aspirations of these women involved in marriage migration.
Read the full report here.