Vietnam to open legal matchmaking center, change adoption laws

Date: 2009-01-08
Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem has ordered government agencies to make plans for opening the nation�s first matchmaking firm in order to prevent the abuse of Vietnamese women by foreigners.

He has also asked the Ministry of Justice to suggest revisions to the law on adoption of Vietnamese children by foreigners.

More governmental control over marriage and family issues concerning foreigners was necessary �to protect Vietnamese residents� legal rights,� Khiem said in a statement on the government website Wednesday.

He asked government agencies to prepare a project for opening a matchmaking company in Ho Chi Minh City and submit it to the prime minister by the end of June.

In Vietnam, individuals and organizations have to date been legally forbidden to broker marriages for fees. Matchmaking can only be conducted by non-profit centers run by provincial women�s associations and charities.

The deputy prime minister has also required Vietnam Women�s Association to increase cooperation with international marriage consultancy agencies in Southeast Asia and nearby countries and territories.

The Ministry of Justice will submit measures to improve the processing of adoption by foreigners to the prime minister by the end of March and amendments to regulations on adopting foreign children by the end of June, according to the website statement.

The Foreign Ministry will direct Vietnamese agencies abroad to protect Vietnamese citizens in their familial relationship with foreigners, in accordance with local and international laws.

Meanwhile, city and provincial People�s Committees nationwide will run campaigns to help residents arrange legal marriages with foreigners, the statement says.

Several studies by the Institute for Human Studies under Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences have revealed that the number of Vietnamese women marrying foreigners, mostly from East Asian countries, has surged in the past decade.

Many of those marriages result from the women�s desire to have a better life overseas and help impoverished families back home. The marriages are typically arranged through unauthorized matchmakers.

Social scientists have said that there is a high risk in such marriages that the women do not get what they hope for and that their children would also suffer.

This can become a human development challenge for Vietnam in the next five years, they have warned.

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