At any one time, there are approximately 90 agencies offering the names, addresses, pictures, and short biographies of around 25,000 women who are looking for husbands. The women listed by these services are predominantly Filipino or Russian, but entries may be found from nearly every country of the world. Most of these agencies update their listings quarterly (some more often, some less), indicating that the annual number of women available as "mail-order brides" is in the neighborhood of 100,000.
According to a report from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (see "Data from Filipino women and intermarriages" by Catherine Paredes-Maceda in Asian Migrant 8.4, 1995), mail-order brides constitute 10 percent of the marriages between Filipinos and foreign nationals. Between 1989 and 1994, 95,000 Filipino men and women were engaged to be married to foreigners, the great majority of whom met their partners through work or personal introductions. Of the foreign men who marry Filipinos, 44 percent are U.S. citizens.
Again, based largely on data supplied by the agencies themselves (along with the Commission on Filipinos Overseas report), marriages arranged through the mail-order services would appear to have a lower divorce rate than the nation as a whole, fully 80 percent of these marriages having lasted over the years for which reports are available.
Clearly, an annual figure of 4,000 to 5,000 new Americans arriving via the "mail-order bride" route is a small figure compared to total immigration of more than one million. Moreover, these newcomers, unlike refugees and other immigrant groups who concentrate in specific urban areas, tend to be dispersed over a wide geographic range, further diminishing any impact they may have. Encounters International, for example, reports that the 53 couples who have married during the agency's three years of existence reside in 12 different states (none in California or New York).
Compared to the 40,000 to 50,000 annual marriages between Americans and foreign nationals where the couple met through other means (friends, travel, military, workplace, etc.), the "mail-order bride" source of new Americans is small. Nonetheless, this stream of women who would not otherwise be able to enter the United States may create future chain migration as they petition for parents or siblings. Also, the perception that these women have succeeded in dramatically improving their lives may encourage still more foreign women to seek this route into the United States.
There are no official figures on the number of mail-order brides globally, but with the growing interconnectedness of the world, and the rising popularity of the Internet as a form of communication, many in the industry say mail-order brides are becoming an increasingly popular option.
In fact, they object to the term \"mail-order bride,\" and prefer terms like \"pen pal\" relationship, or \"international matchmaking,\" because, they say, the process is far more involved and far less one-sided than picking a T-shirt out of a catalog.
Women who want to take part have a hand in initiating the process. If they decide they want a foreign mate, they can submit their photos and profiles to any one of hundreds of Internet sites or mail-order catalogs, often for free.
One report out of Australia, which is a leading destination for mail-order brides, found that Filipina women aged 20-39 there were six times more likely to be victims of violence than their local counterparts. The researchers said most of those suspected, charged or convicted were either the women's spouse or de facto partner.
Supporters of the industry are keen to point out that the divorce rate among mail-order brides is significantly less than for the general population of the developed world. But critics say this is only a sign of other problems.
In 1990, the Philippines enacted a law making it illegal to advertise mail-order bride agencies after it was found that many women who had married through these channels had been forced into slavery or servitude.
A mail-order bride is a woman who lists herself in catalogs and is selected by a man for marriage. In the twentieth century, the trend was primarily towards women living in developing countries seeking men in more developed nations. The majority of the women making use of these services in the late twentieth-century and early twenty-first-century are from East and Southeast Asia, the countries of the former Eastern Bloc, and to a lesser extent Latin America. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, large numbers of eastern European women have advertised themselves in such a way, primarily from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. Men who list themselves in such publications are referred to as "mail-order husbands", although this is much less common.
An international marriage agency (also called an international introduction agency or international marriage broker) is a business that endeavors to introduce men and women of different countries for the purpose of marriage, dating, or correspondence. Many of these marriage agencies are based near women in developing countries (such as Ukraine, Russia, Colombia, Brazil, China, Thailand, and the Philippines). International marriage agencies encourage women to register for their services, and facilitate communication and meetings with men from developed regions of North America, Western Europe, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. This network of smaller international marriage agencies is often affiliated with web-based international dating sites that are able to market their services on a larger scale, in compliance with regulations such as the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act. Experian, a market research firm, reports that the top 10 international dating sites attracted 12 million visitors in March 2013, up 29% from March 2012. International dating sites provide a wide variety of online communication, including instant messaging, email letters, webchat, phone translation, virtual gifts, live games, and mobile-based chat. International marriage agencies are frequently referred to as "mail-order bride" agencies. However, many consider the term "mail-order bride" derogatory and feel it demeans foreign women by comparing them to commodities for sale and by falsely implying that (unlike local women), they exercise no judgment over the men they meet and would marry anyone from a relatively wealthy country.
There are at least two historical roots of the mail-order bride industry that emerged in the 1800s in the American frontier: Asian workers in the frontier regions (although Asian workers were scattered throughout the world), and American men who had headed west across the United States to the frontier.
Asian men worked through mail-order agencies to find wives as they worked overseas in the 1800s. Key variables determining the relationship between migration and marriage were demographics, legal policies, cultural perceptions and technology. Imbalances between the number of available women and the number of men desiring partners created a demand for immigrant women. As a result of this imbalance, a new system of "picture brides" developed in predominantly male settlements. In the early 20th century, the institution of "picture brides" developed due to immigration restrictions. The Japanese-American Passport Agreement of 1907 allowed Japan to grant passports to the wives of immigrants to America. As immigration of unmarried Japanese women to America was effectively barred, the use of "picture brides" provided a mechanism for willing women to obtain a passport to America, while Japanese workers in America could gain a female helpmate of their own nationality. 2b1af7f3a8