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Keywords:

  • international marriage broker;
  • mail-order bride;
  • marriage;
  • domestic violence;
  • international matchmaking organizations;
  • state regulations

Each year, hundreds of U.S. men and foreign women find their future spouses through international matchmaking agencies. Foreign women are attracted to the opportunity for a life in America and men are offered money-back guarantees to find the perfect wife. An alarming number of these unions however, have resulted in the abuse, exploitation and even death of foreign women at the hands of their U.S. citizen husbands. While the federal International Marriage Broker Regulation Act requires disclosure of a male client's criminal background history prior to communicating with a potential foreign bride, the Act does not impose any requirements for disclosure of information about the international marriage brokers themselves. Thus the peddlers behind the rapidly growing industry are largely unaccounted for, with no one really knowing who they are or where they are operating. This Note proposes that states fill the enforcement gap by adopting a statute requiring international marriage brokers to register and become certified to do business with state residents. This legislation will result in collecting much needed data on international marriage brokers, create more transparency in the international matchmaking industry and prevent potential violence and abuse of foreign women.