South Korea will create a multi-language police hotline to better protect foreign wives from domestic violence, the gender ministry said Friday.
The government will also ban men with records of serious crimes from bringing in foreign brides and enhance education for marriage migrants and mix-race families to help them settle in this ethnically homogenous nation.
The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family and related government agencies announced a set of measures to enhance protection of their human rights, which came in the wake of recent cases highlighting their vulnerability to abuses.
In July, a video went viral of a Vietnamese woman harshly beaten by her Korean husband in front of their young child. Early this week, a Korean man was arrested for stabbing his Vietnamese wife to death Saturday.
"The government will provide intensive support to female marriage migrants to help them settle in our society and will continue to enhance measures to crack down on illegal acts against them and violations of their human rights," the ministry said in a press release.
The new measures include the launch of a new emergency call, which foreign wives can use to report to police in their own tongues. The service will be run in 13 languages and in cooperation between police and a government-sponsored call center for foreign spouses.
The government will use community activists to detect domestic violence early and enhance checks of families with high risk of abuses. The number of counseling centers for such victims, which were launched this year, will be increased from five to seven next year.
The government will restrict the issuance of visas for foreign spouses for those with records of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, murder and robbery.
In addition, the government will crack down on international matchmaking agencies' illegal acts, including the provision of personal information, and push to block access to illegal brokering websites run with overseas servers.
Regulations will also be eased for the naturalization of female migrants who got divorced due to violence and abuse. Currently, they must submit materials that prove they are "not responsible for the breakup." But the government will also recognize evidence that "normal marital life could not be maintained for reasons largely attributable to the husband."
Education for foreign wives will also be expanded. The 8-hour training of marriage migrants before they enter the country, which is currently offered in Vietnam and the Philippines, will also be available in Thailand. Two-hour training programs for families with foreign wives will also be conducted on a trial basis.
The government-run Multicultural Family Support Center will cooperate with local community centers to help migrant women get a job and provide other support for their settlement.
The number of international marriages in Korea rose 8.5 percent to 23,773 in 2018 from a year earlier, according to government data released this month. Couples made up of a Korean man and a foreign woman accounted for 67 percent of the total. (Yonhap)