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Nepali girls sold as "brides" to old South Koreans

world Updated: Feb 15, 2009 16:22 IST

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Unscrupulous marriage bureaus are thriving in Nepal who lure young girls for weddings with 'handsome' Korean men, only to find out that they have been cheated and married to males of their father's age.

A 22 year old girl Dawa Sherpa, of Nuwakot district, West of Kathmandu, who was pleased to get married to a 33 year old South Korean handsome man realised after reaching the country that she was actually married to a mentally disturbed old man, fortnightly magazine, 'Himal Khabarpatrika' reported.

Her marriage was arranged by a Kathmandu bureau, last year. The bureau charged hundreds of thousands of rupees from her for the arrangement. After she wept and rejected the marriage, she was then married to the son of the old man.

These are the regular stories of those Nepali women, who had spent over a million rupees in the hope of living a comfortable life in an advanced country like South Korea, but in fact destiny has cheated them badly.

Another girl Shanti Magar, 21, of Baglung district in western Nepal, who was married to a 35 year old Korean man by paying Rs one million to the broker was handed over to a 56 year old man after reaching the country.

Not only Nepalese, but poor girls from Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia are also married to the Korean men in the same manner and led miserable life. The women married to old aged Koreans had to do all house hold works besides satisfying their sexual needs.

The brokers, who used to traffic girls to Indian brothels and Gulf countries for prostitution, are now lured into South Korea. These Nepali girls, mostly belong to rural Gurung community.

There are 38 such marriage bureaus in Nepal and 32 of them are in Kathmandu alone and are operated by those Nepalese who have returned from Korea after for 5-6 years of stay.

Until one and half year ago, almost one woman got married to the Korean man in a day. According to Korean Embassy sources here, every month some 30 women used to visit the embassy to get no objection letter for marriage purpose.

But since December 2007, after the government adopted strict regulations for marriage registration relating to foreign nationals, the number has gone down considerably. Now only 26 such marriage registrations have been made from December 2007 to January 2008, according to officials.

Out of 22 Nepalese women living in Chhang Sang Namdo of Korea as victims, two have managed to escape and return Nepal. These girls usually face language problem as they do not know Korean or English language.

The women who are sold to older men are even tortured if she rejects the marriage. There are more than 300 such brides reported to have been staying in Korea leading miserable life.

But the Nepalese embassy in Korea has problem in rescuing them as they have already acquired Korean citizenship, says officials.