Last month, the Ministry of Public Security arrested a Taiwanese national named Lai Chun Lin for running an illegal marriage brokering service that matched Vietnamese women and Taiwanese men.
Lin confessed he had returned to Taiwan to avoid an arrest warrant issued by Binh Duong Police and recently returned to Tien Giang to broker a marriage between a rural Vietnamese woman and a Taiwanese man.
However, people like Lin may face no charges in Vietnam if a draft bill proposing the legalization of the marriage brokering services passes.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment has proposed allowing foreign investment in marriage brokering services in the draft amended Investment Law, which also proposes lifting a ban on several other businesses.
According to the Hanoi-based Research Center for Gender and Development, more than 10,000 Vietnamese women marry foreign husbands every year and the number is increasing.
The center's director, Le Thi Quy, said that many of those women are cheated into migrating abroad into unhappy marriages or human trafficking schemes.
Nearly 1,000 women are smuggled abroad in 400-500 cases every year, according to Cong An Nhan Dan newspaper, which reported that these women are cheated into marrying foreign husbands.
According to the draft law, marriage brokering will be considered a business that will have to comply with strict government requirements.
However, at a session Tuesday, lawmakers said the draft law should contain further details on marriage brokering services and the many other businesses it seeks to legalize.
Deputy Ho Trong Ngu of Vinh Long Province said relevant ministries and lawmakers should save more time to discuss the list of banned businesses and legalize them under only the strictest conditions.
According to Nguyen Van Giau, chairman of the National Assembly's Economic Committee, the draft law asked that the central government categorize the businesses that must operate under strict supervision.
“The National Assembly’s Standing Committee should approve this list,” he said.
Nguyen Sinh Hung, Chairman of the National Assembly (Vietnam’s parliament), said the bill should be thoroughly reviewed to avoid loopholes.
“There are still stories about unenforced regulations. Without thorough consideration, the central government can loosen management for inspection agencies who may abuse them for [personal] benefit,” he said.
Hung said he expects much from the amended investment and enterprise bills will affect development.
“If they can’t be approved at a session before the end of the year, it should be voted on later to ensure the best possible result,” he said.
BUSINESSES REMAIN PROHIBITED UNDER DRAFT INVESTMENT LAW
1. Military weapons, equipment and techniques except those ordered by the State.
2. Drugs, except for those that are used for analysis and testing, scientific research, medical and criminal investigations under the provision of the State.
3. Prohibited chemicals.
4. Fire-crackers, except for signal fire-crackers, fireworks prescribed by State agencies.
6. Humans and human body parts.
7. Specimens of endangered, rare animals and plants.
8. Human cloning.
9. Transgenic animals.
10. Cultural products that threaten national security and social ethics.
11. Counterfeit goods, items found harmful to human health except those that meet specific business and investment criteria.
The draft law also narrowed the list of conditional businesses from 386 to 326.