Happy Ever After

A blog from our partner Oasis Belgium, who work with victims of human trafficking, introducing their new resources Love Abroad, aimed to reduce the vulnerability of women coming to Europe for marriage.

Are you looking for a Russian wife, or how about a Thai beauty, another option could be a hot Latino? If so go onto google and search for a ‘Mail Order Bride’.  Tens of thousands of websites will appear informing you that they can guarantee you love and happiness. To the men who may think of using this service we want to warn you that this offer does not come cheap. And to the women it may not be the happy ever after you seek.

Oasis Belgium works with Thai women who came to Belgium to marry Belgian men, and although they have a marriage certificate, they have also become victims of human trafficking.

Pami* used to work in a factory in Thailand; she had been through a divorce and was really struggling to make ends meet. Her friend then suggested that she tried to find a European man by looking online. So Pami went online, and signed up to a marriage agency, lots of girls in Thailand were looking for American and European men online, so why not? It wasn’t long before she met a charming Belgian guy. After chatting for a while they got married and she moved to Belgium. Everything was great at first, but it wasn’t long before she realised, it was not the happy ever after she had thought it would be. Her husband wanted to set up an erotic Thai massage parlour, for want of a better word a brothel.  He forced her to work there and to recruit other women to work there too. It wasn’t hard to find other Thai ladies to join. They soon discovered that there were lots of Thai girls in Belgian, who had moved there for marriage, but had ended up being victims of domestic violence and had run away. Pami had been deceived as she was made to believe she was going to Belgium for marriage but once arriving in Belgium she was introduced to sexual exploitation.

Many couples that meet online, through dating agencies or marriage agencies, find great and happy relationships. However for others like Pami end up in situations of exploitation. We have therefore created a resource called Love Abroad. This aims to reduce the vulnerability of women who come to Europe for marriage and to reduce the risk for them being trafficked? We aim to do this by giving them warnings, help-lines, information about culture shock and international relationships as well as tips for settling into a new country. We are working with embassies so that they will provide this information to women when they are issued with a marriage visa.

Check it out at: www.loveabroad.org

Ways that you can be involved:

Sharing the website on social media

Research for more information about: help-lines, language lessons, support groups

Contact us at: emma.gooding@oasisbe.org for more info!

*name changed

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