A mail-order bride is a woman who lists herself in catalogs and is selected by a man for marriage. In the twentieth century, the trend was primarily towards women living in developing countries seeking men in more developed nations. The majority of the women making use of these services in the late twentieth-century and early twenty-first-century are from East Asia, Southeast Asia, the post-Eastern Bloc countries, and Latin America. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, large numbers of eastern European women have advertised themselves in such a way, primarily from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. Men who list themselves in such publications are referred to as "mail-order husbands", although this is much less common.
An international marriage agency (also called an international introduction agency or international marriage broker) is a business that endeavors to introduce men and women of different countries for the purpose of marriage, dating, or correspondence. Many of these marriage agencies are based near women in developing countries (such as Ukraine, Russia, Colombia, Brazil, China, Thailand, and the Philippines). International marriage agencies encourage women to register for their services, and facilitate communication and meetings with men from developed regions of North America, Western Europe, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. This network of smaller international marriage agencies is often affiliated with web-based international dating sites that are able to market their services on a larger scale, in compliance with regulations such as the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act. Experian, a market research firm, reports that the top 10 international dating sites attracted 12 million visitors in March 2013, up 29% from March 2012. International dating sites provide a wide variety of online communication, including instant messaging, email letters, webchat, phone translation, virtual gifts, live games, and mobile-based chat. International marriage agencies are frequently referred to as "mail-order bride" agencies. However, many consider the term "mail-order bride" derogatory and feel it demeans foreign women by comparing them to commodities for sale and by falsely implying that (unlike local women), they exercise no judgment over the men they meet and would marry anyone from a relatively wealthy country.
There are at least two historical roots of the mail-order bride industry that emerged in the 1800s in the American frontier: Asian workers in the frontier regions (although Asian workers were scattered throughout the world), and American men who had headed west across the United States to the frontier.
Asian men worked through mail-order agencies to find wives as they worked overseas in the 1800s. Key variables determining the relationship between migration and marriage were demographics, legal policies, cultural perceptions and technology. Imbalances between the number of available women and the number of men desiring partners created a demand for immigrant women. As a result of this imbalance, a new system of "picture brides" developed in predominantly male settlements. In the early 20th century, the institution of "picture brides" developed due to immigration restrictions. The Japanese-American Passport Agreement of 1907 allowed Japan to grant passports to the wives of immigrants to America. As immigration of unmarried Japanese women to America was effectively barred, the use of "picture brides" provided a mechanism for willing women to obtain a passport to America, while Japanese workers in America could gain a female helpmate of their own nationality.
British Columbia welcomed sixty women from Britain, mail-order brides recruited by the Columbia Emigration Society, in 1862. Another twenty women from Australia were bound for Victoria but were convinced to stay in San Francisco when their ship docked there.
Women in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and other Eastern European countries are common mail-order bride candidates. Economic and social conditions for women in Russia and other Post-Soviet states are a motivational factor in finding foreign arrangements. Finding a foreign husband gives a woman a chance to leave her country and find better economic opportunities. In testimony before the United States Senate, Professor Donna Hughes said that two thirds of Ukrainian women interviewed wanted to live abroad and this rose to 97% in the resort city of Yalta.
Many international brides come from developing countries in East Asia and Southeast Asia, and occasionally from South Asia as well. The countries the women come from are faced with unemployment, malnutrition and inflation. However, economic factors are not the only driving factor for women in Asia to enter the mail-order industry. In some cases women were recruited based on their physical appearance, with an emphasis placed on youth and virginity. This is found among boutique agencies, most of which cater to wealthy men from other Asian nations. The majority of Asian mail-order brides come from the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong, and China.
Since 2003, the Government of Australia's resolve to decrease what was deemed "inappropriate immigration" by then-Prime Minister John Howard has gained momentum. Initial reactions to the program were mixed. However, during the January 2004 visit to Eastern Europe by the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Philip Ruddock, Australian-Russian relationships were strengthened while both nations committed to a timetable for reductions in Russian human trafficking into Australia. The Australian public further embraced its government's new policies following the media circus of the Jana Klintoukh case. This case first exploded into the public's view when current-events program Today Tonight aired footage of a young Russian-born Australian, claiming she was imported via an Internet site and was kept as a sexual slave by her "husband" while being confined to his Sydney home.
Canadian immigration laws concerning mail-order brides have traditionally been similar to (but slightly less restrictive than) their U.S. counterparts; for instance, previously not requiring the Canadian citizen to prove minimum-income requirements (as has been a long-standing requirement of United States immigration laws). While there is still no formal requirement for a minimum salary, the sponsor must provide evidence of income (such as the T4 income tax slip from an employer) with their IMM 5481 Sponsorship Evaluation. Until 2001 Canada's immigration policy designated mail-order brides under the "family class" to refer to spouses and dependents and "fiancé(e)" class for those intending to marry, with only limited recognition of externally married opposite-sex "common law" relationships; same-sex partners were processed as independent immigrants or under a discretionary provision for "humane and compassionate" considerations. In 2002, the Canadian Immigration Law was completely revised. One of the major changes was conjugal partner sponsorship, available for any two people (including same-sex couples) who have had conjugal relations together for at least one year. Canadian immigration authorities frown upon conjugal-partners sponsorship for heterosexual couples, and now require the couple to marry before a visa is granted (unless serious reason can be demonstrated why the couple is not yet married).
China is one of the main source countries of East Asian mail-order brides. Vietnamese women are traveling to China as mail-order brides for rural Han Chinese men to earn money for their families and a rise in the standard of living, matchmaking between Chinese men and Vietnamese women has increased and has not been affected by troubled relations between Vietnam and China. Some Vietnamese women from Lào Cai who married Han Chinese men stated that among their reasons for doing so was that Vietnamese men beat their wives, engaged in affairs with mistresses, and refused to help their wives with chores while Han men actively helped their wives carry out chores and care for them. Cambodian women also travel to China as mail order brides for rural men. In the majority of cases, young women are persuaded by friends and relatives with an offer, and at least 5 percent of Vietnamese women in marriages to Chinese men are victims of human trafficking.  There is no established bilateral cooperation between China and Vietnam to deal with the problematic aspects of undocumented, transnational marriages, since the Chinese marriage market crisis has been significantly alleviated by female immigrants. Despite prohibition, illegal border crossing and de facto marriage are common and uncontrollable. 
During the 1980s and 1990s, local authorities started government-led initiatives encouraging marriage between women from other Asian countries and Japanese farmers due to the lack of Japanese women who wanted to live in the countryside. These Asian brides came from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, China and South Korea. The phenomenon of marrying women from other Asian countries later spread to urban parts of Japan as well.
The New York Times reports, "Every month, hundreds of South Korean men fly to Vietnam, the Philippines, Nepal and Uzbekistan on special trips. An agent escorts each man to see many women in a single day, sometimes all gathered in the same hall". Although these marriages can be successful, in some cases immigrant wives are mistreated, misunderstood and separated from their Korean husbands. One method men use when choosing young girls as wives is "Like a judge in a beauty pageant, the man interviews the women, many of them 20 years younger than he, and makes a choice". The British newspaper The Independent reports, "Last year it was reported that more than 40,000 Vietnamese women have married South Korean men and migrated there." Cambodian women are also popular with Korean men seeking foreign brides, but in March 2010 the Cambodian government banned marriages to South Korean men. 781b155fdc