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Page last updated at 13:01 GMT, Thursday, 8 January 2009

Vietnam state to run bride agency

A couple wed in Hanoi
Overseas marriage is seen by some women as a route out of poverty

Vietnam says it is planning to set up an official matchmaking agency to arrange marriages between Vietnamese women and foreign men.

The authorities say they want to regulate the sector, which they say is currently run by illegal groups.

Police have targeted events in recent years where dozens of women from poor backgrounds, seeking a better life, are paraded before potential suitors.

The men are often on short "marriage holidays" from South Korea and Taiwan.

Correspondents say that overseas marriage is seen by some women in Vietnam as a route out of poverty and the practice is widespread in some rural areas.

But many women fall foul of unscrupulous brokers and are sold into prostitution, while others are forced into marriages they do not want.

Vietnamese officials have now been told to make plans for a state-controlled matchmaking firm based in Ho Chi Minh City.

The government says it hopes the plan will help prevent the abuse of Vietnamese women by criminal organisations, or by their new husbands.



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SEE ALSO
Vietnam jails six for trafficking
27 Jul 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan's foreign brides
25 Dec 02 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Vietnam
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