Saturday, April 25, 2009

Migrants in Korea (World Day for Migrants)

On the 26th of April the Catholic Church in Korea is celebrating the 95th World Day for Migrants. There are over 1 million foreigners living in the country. Of that number there are many who have entered into marriage with Koreans. Some are happy but some are faced with many problems. Both Catholic papers had editorials on the migrants this past week.

The migrants in Korea especially those that come from poorer countries and are workers are still finding it difficult. The head of the Bishop’s committee on immigration said there has been improvement but still they are not treated equally. The problems are not just limited to the individual but to the families and the children of these families.

The percentage of marriages of those living in farming areas with foreigners will increase. At present one of ten marriages in Korea are international marriages. On the bus that I take to return to my mission station you have advertisements for foreign brides. The price is listed and all is taken care of by the brokers. The young Korean girls, for the most part, are not interested in spending their life on the farm.

The Catholic Paper had for its lead article the problem of divorce in the migrant woman’s life. When the marriage breaks up they have no place to turn. Since many of the migrant workers come from the Philippines and are Catholic, it is a most pressing problem for the Church. The number of divorces is on the rise. It is not easy to adapt to the Korean Culture. The stress of living in Korea, the need to support the family take a toll on these frail marriages. There is a lot of depression, stress and many woman end up in the world of prostitution. There are also problems with the children of these unions for must of them fail to learn the language well and at times remain outside the culture. The Church sees the need, and although it has been active in this area for sometime, there is more effort and interest necessary in alleviating the many problems that face the whole society.

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