If you are not registered or logged in, you may still view these forums but with limited features. You can register by clicking here. If you have any questions, please check the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
HONG KONG, China (CNN) -- Online, thousands of mail-order bride sites are putting a bevy of Filipina dream girls just a mouse click away.
Internet proliferation is causing a surge in international dating services, and for more than 150,000 Filipina women it's also offering hope for a brighter future as a foreigner's bride.
A foreign future
Josie Valdez is one of hundreds of girls posted on the web. The 23 year-old Filipina domestic helper is looking for a potential partner and a better life abroad. Valdez, who has a child, says she has expectations of her future spouse.
"He must love me," she says. "They must accept me and at the same time my son too and where I come from. My values. My traditions."
For the men interested in ordering women like Valdez, online sites allow them to sift through thousands of pictures of potential brides. They then get in touch by paying for the address of the girls they like. A successful match often means a move abroad, but it's not as innocent as it seems.
A dangerous decision
In fact, following a potential spouse can be dangerous. Critics say online brides are often forced into domestic work.
"Mail order bride is like mail order slavery," says Cynthia Tellex, director of the Mission for Filipino Workers in Hong Kong. "It's modern day slavery. Many of them end up being battered."
Tellex also says the girls are often frustrated by clashing cultures.
"Many of them thought that like in the Philippines the man would surrender whatever earnings he has to the wife," she says. "It's not so in many countries. It's not the practice."
But many mail order brides suffer situations much worse with some even ending up dead. In 1995, Filipina Susana Remerata was murdered in Seattle by her husband Timothy Blackwell. She'd been pursuing a divorce after alleging abuse.
Recently in September last year, Anastasia King from Kyrgyzstan was also found dead in the U.S. Her husband has been arrested on first-degree murder charges.
Filipina leaders are aware of the dangers. Nearly ten years ago, then president Corazon Aquino banned agencies soliciting girls for marriage to foreigners. Violaters can face up to eight years in prison, but enforcement has proven difficult. The dating services often just set up shop outside the country.
Ever the romantic
Despite the horrific tales, women like Valdez still have hopes of finding a romantic future over the web. And although Valdez says she was scared the first time she signed up, she plans on keeping her photo online.
"One of my pen pals asked me what is my plan, then I told him if you're going to get me to the U.S. then that's fine," Valdez says.
The optimism held by mail order brides is understandable. Tellez says the women take a risk to escape poverty and are willing to try their luck even with the potential dangers.
"Whatever happened to Maria might not happen to Nana. That's how they think. 'I might be luckier than her,'" Tellez says.
For Valdez, that's exactly the kind of online luck she's counting on to bring her and her son a promise of better things to come.
"I always plan that after a few years in Hong Kong then I'm going to Canada as a stepping stone, and who knows, I'm going to the U.S. also," she says. "If others succeed, then maybe I can succeed. If it's a failure, than that's my fate."
I am very sceptical about mail order brides. These women from Russia or Asia just want to get out of their home country and live a better life somewhere else. This has nothing to do with love or sympathy, they just want to go the Central Europe or the US as fast as possible. They divorce later when they have papers and the permission to stay in the country. You should be careful with the online dating business[/url] since your feelings may get hurt. Find a woman in a normal way and don't order a poor girl from overseas.
Bad things happen to men and women all over the world. These cases are in the minority. Many happy life-long relationships have been formed via the internet. In fact I know of several happy couples who have met online, domestic and forign. The problem is that when something bad happens it gets plastered all over the news. This gives the false impression that this is all that happens when in fact these cases are in the vast minority. Online dating today is safe and fun and native Asian women, like all women, want love and companionship and often find that Western men fit the bill.
After all, if all the cases ended in tragedy, nobody would pursue online dating at all.
I agree with you AsiansAreCool, it is unfortunate that people in general are so quick to judge something as either black or white. Yes, obviously there are women from these countries that have alterior motives just based around getting into the country, but how can you disregard an entire dating option because of that? Just because sometimes scams occur because the man isn't being as safe as he could be and the person can easily take advantage does not mean that happens all the time. It doesn't really seem to happen much at all compared to the amount of people who have been happily brought together by international dating. I guess the key is looking after yourself and being 100% sure about the person before committing yourself. Go through a respectable agency and they will do everything for you except the talking. It isn't fair to say that these intelligent and attractive women don't have the right to date American guys, and it's the same the other way around.
Marriage Services reserves the right to block, delete, or edit any and all posts. The Moderator has sole discretion on the content of this site. Anyone who posts accepts these terms, and waives any and all rights to bring any legal action against Marriage Services. If you disapprove of any of the above, do not use, read, or post in Marriage Services