Thirteen women were paraded in front of three South Korean men shopping for wives in a Ho Chi Minh City supermarket on Monday, VietNamNet reported Thursday.
Police have arrested the men and a Vietnamese interpreter after being informed by local residents of the illegal marriage brokerage at a café on the terrace of Maximark supermarket in Tan Binh District.
The girls, between 18 to 27 years of age, were sent back to their homes in the Mekong Delta, before being made to pen written promises not to get involved in such a scheme again.
They said they only expected a chance of coming abroad and change their life and didn't know how much they would get from the transaction.
For each woman selected, the Koreans promised to pay the Vietnamese brokers around US$3,500, police have found.
There were no Vietnamese brokers at the scene when the police arrived.
Over the last two decades, poverty has driven thousands of women from poor families, especially the Mekong Delta, to marry older men, mainly from South Korea and Taiwan.
Statistics from the South Korean Consulate General in HCMC showed that around 27,500 Vietnamese women had been granted marriage visas by 2008. Around 8,000 such visas were granted in 2009 alone.
This means around 35,500 Vietnamese women had migrated to South Korea for marriage by the end of 2009.
Most of these marriages were arranged by illegal brokerage firms.
According to the Ministry of Public Security, human trafficking in southern cities and provinces has increased under the guise of a number of shady businesses, including illegal marriage brokerage.
Many women have been duped into believing they are being sent to meet their future husbands, but they are instead sold to brothels or subjected to brutal treatment.