GUJRANWALA, Pakistan (AP) — Muqadas Ashraf was just 16 when her parents married her off to a Chinese man who had come to Pakistan looking for a bride. Less than five months later, Muqadas is back…
In China, demand for foreign brides has mounted, a legacy of the one-child policy that skewed the country’s gender balance toward males. Brides initially came largely from Vietnam, Laos and North Korea. Now men are looking further afield, said Mimi Vu, director of advocacy at Pacific Links, which helps trafficked Vietnamese women.
Brokers are aggressively seeking out girls for Chinese men, sometimes even cruising outside churches to ask for potential brides. They are being helped by Christian clerics paid to target impoverished parents in their congregation with promises of wealth in exchange for their daughters.
Parents receive several thousand dollars and are told that their new sons-in-law are wealthy Christian converts. The grooms turn out to be neither, according to several brides, their parents, an activist, pastors and government officials, all of whom spoke to The Associated Press.
Human Rights Watch called on China and Pakistan to take action to end bride trafficking, warning in an April 26 statement of “increasing evidence that Pakistani women and girls are at risk of sexual slavery in China.”