Roxanne Sims


The mail-order bride industry has existed since the early twentieth century, although the idea of women advertising themselves for marriage may seem unusual and extraordinary to some people. Mail-order brides became increasingly popular as male immigrant workers who settled in the United States sought wives from their home countries. People referred to these women as “picture brides,” and relatives frequently participated in arranging the marriages. However, the mail-order bride industry has changed significantly over the past century, with international marriage brokers (IMBs) currently operating all over the world. IMBs recruit prospective mail-order brides from their home countries via advertisements in newspapers, magazines, and direct mail solicitations. Sometimes, IMBs solicit women in person. IMBs advertise modern day mail-order brides on internet websites and participate in arranging the marriages. Typically, the clients in the mail-order bride industry are middle-aged, Caucasian men from wealthy Western nations, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and other nations in Western Europe. The women who advertise themselves for marriage are usually from poor, developing, and economically depressed nations. Many of these women seek to escape the conditions in their home countries by marrying a citizen from a developed nation. In 2002, the countries with the highest number of mail-order brides who immigrated to the United States were: Russia, Ukraine, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brazil, and Columbia.