Original article in Korean is at this link.
International marriages between foreigners and citizens of our country have tripled in the past ten years. With the surging number of marriages there has naturally been an increase in divorces as the number of broken families frmo international marriages has tripled in the past seven years.
Children from those families urgently need help because of the economic difficulties psychological harm that follow from their parents’ divorces caused by differences in skin color, language, and culture.
Last year in our country there were 34,235 international marriages, up from 11,605 in 2000, an increase of 2.95 times. International divorce also went up. In 2004, when (통계청) began keeping statistics, there were 3,300 divorces, which increased 3.41 times to 11,245 last year. Over the last seven years 18,715 Korean women divorced their foreign husbands, and 27,775 Korean men divorced their foreign wives.
In 2004 the number of multicultural children from broken families was over 500, but in 2007 they had doubled to over 1,000, and last year there were over 1,500. That is an increase of no less than 3.12 times over the last seven years. There are now over 10,000 international divorces every year, so it appears likely that the number of multicultural children of broken families will continue to increase.
Experts say that multicultural children are more likely than Korean children to suffer psychological and economic consequences of divorce. Jeong Yu-jin, assistant administrator at the 우리다문화가정센터, said on the 20th that “they are vulnerable to a lack of a mother’s love if their mother has to return to her home country because she does not have permanent residence… even if they live together, foreign mothers who are not accustomed to Korean language and culture are often unable to obtain regular employment and they fall into serious economic problems.”
Song Mi-rim, a social worker at the multicultural families aid center in Suwon, said that “women marriage immigrants don’t have the stable life of their parents’ homes, so it is difficult for them to have suitable living arrangements… also, because they do not have citizenship they cannot obtain welfare assistance even if they have permanent resident status, so they have large economic troubles.” They may receive child support but it may be cut in half if they obtain work.
The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family (여성가족부) is operating education and consultation programs from children from divorced multicultural families through multicultural family aid centers (다문화가족지원센터) nationwide.
Kim Mi-hye, head of the social work program at Ehwa Women’s University, said that “when children from divorced international families became school-aged, because they are both from a multicultural background and from a divorced family, they experience a ‘double impact’… schools need to make programs for them and the government needs to offer economic assistance to divorced women marriage immigrants.”