Global Times, part of the Chinese Communist Party paper People's Daily, reported in Shanghai officials have found several cases involving young Southeast Asian women in the city this year. There has been a surge of mail-order advertisements in Shanghai promising to find wives from Southeast Asia.
"Also, men should really think twice before getting married, especially if they don't know the bride well," said an announcement Monday from the Shanghai Exit-Entry Administration, the report said.
Officials with the administration said they have received complaints from a number of men saying such women, for whom they paid a high price, had disappeared a few months after marriage.
"One victim told us that he was unable to reach his … wife after she went back home for a visit," administration spokesman Li Feng told the Global Times. "We suspect that there are many more like him in the city."
The man is reported to have paid $7,400 in agency fees and an additional $5,500 to the woman's family.
An agent at a marriage agency told the newspaper such wives usually run away within the first two months of marriage if things don't go as expected.
An agent from a different marriage agency said women who work for human traffickers under the guise of agencies have been known to run soon after marriage.
"The problem is that it's tough to prove that the agency is an organized gang working to deceive men for money instead of introducing them to available partners," a lawyer told Global Times.
He said once deception is established, the marriage is no longer recognized by or protected under Chinese law.
The head of the Chinese government agency fighting human trafficking problem said this month smuggling of women and children from neighboring nations into China is increasing despite efforts to fight it.
Chen Shiqu said cross-border human traffickers remain a serious scourge, and urged greater international cooperation to stop them.
"Great demand from buyers as well as traditional preference for boys (among Chinese families) are the main culprits fueling trafficking," Chen told China Daily.