Cambodia’s trafficked brides: The escalating phenomenon of forced marriage

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About this talk

The number of women travelling from Cambodia to China for forced or arranged marriages has surged since 2016 and experienced a further spike since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Cambodian women in arranged marriages with Chinese men, whether originally consensual or not, report finding themselves in remote areas and abusive contexts.

China’s one-child policy, in force between 1979 and 2015, reportedly led to sex-selective abortions by families seeking a son instead of a daughter, creating a significant gender imbalance in the country. Driven by Chinese men’s search for a wife, especially in rural areas, thousands of women from Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, and Myanmar are transported to China to wed. Although some travel knowing that they are to be married, others are deceived. Many report suffering violence, sex abuse and forced labour.

This event will present different perspectives on bride trafficking to China, with a focus on how the pandemic has shaped these dynamics. The GI-TOC will share findings from recent research into bride trafficking from Cambodia to China. Chab Dai, a Cambodian civil society organization, and Blue Dragon, a Vietnamese civil society organization that is also a GI-TOC Resilience Fund partner, will share insights from their work with trafficking survivors, focusing on those who have entered into marriages in China.


Chair: Lucia Bird, Director, Observatory of Illicit Economies in West Africa, GI-TOC

Opening remarks: Sean Sok Phay, Executive director, Child Helpline Cambodia


• Vireak Chhun, Researcher

• Thi Hoang, Analyst and JIED managing editor, GI-TOC

• Chan Saron, Senior programme manager of survivor restoration, Chab Dai Coalition

• Le Thi Hong Luong, Anti-trafficking coordinator, Blue Dragon Children's Foundation

Categories covered by this talk

Vireak Chhun

Independent Consultant

Le Thi Hong Luong

Anti-trafficking Coordinator, Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation

Chan Saron

Senior programme manager of survivor restoration, Chab Dai Coalition

Sean Sok Phay

Executive Director, Child Helpline Cambodia

Lucia Bird

Director of the West Africa Observatory, Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

Thi Hoang

Analyst, Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime; Managing Editor, Journal of Illicit Economies and Development (JIED)

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