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Pioneer Press: Domestic Violence Victim Advocates Say Child Brides in Hmong Community Live with Abuse

Sia Her
Sia Her, Executive Director of Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans

More Hmong men are returning to Laos to have relationships and sometimes marry significantly younger women and underage girls, reports the Pioneer Press which quoted many domestic violence prevention advocates.

Some of these men remained married to women in the United States. While no statistics are kept, advocates say these relationships are tearing families apart.

While women leaders in the Hmong community call the problem epidemic, some men deny the problem exists and say there are child brides and domestic violence in every culture.

“In the past, (our community has) condoned this, but now we know what the consequences are to the families here, to the families in Laos, to the girls we bring over, to the children (this) gives birth to, said Sia Her, Executive Director of the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans. “This is like a cancer. … It hurts us all. We can no longer remain silent … for fear it’s going to shed negative light on our community. … It’s time for people to stand up and say we are against this.”

In one case, a Hmong girl was brought to the United States by her suitor and forced to live with his first wife and children. The girl was forced to live in a back shed and take over all the household chores.

In another case, a Hmong man talked on the phone with his girlfriend in Laos openly in front of his wife in the United States. When she questioned it, he became abusive and abandoned her and her five children.

Another Hmong man sent so much money to girls in Laos, he had no money to pay the cable bill. When he asked his son to help pay and he refused, the man killed his son.

“There are so many families affected by this in so many ways,” said Kabo Yang of the Minnesota Women’s Consortium. “It’s gotten to where everyone I talk to has a relative or knows someone with a story.”

You can read about what’s behind this trend of child bribes, what’s being done about it and how some hope to stop in in the Pioneer Press


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