By David Stenerud
On a website for "sex-contacts," the dating-agency Open World, registered in Hammerfest, has put out an ad where they offer serious contact with women from Russia and other former Soviet states. Norwatch sets up an alias with an e-mail address and responds to the ad. We get a form letter in return:
"To get the most effective help we ask you to send a little more info on what you are looking for: height, weight, age, appearance, do you accept if she has children(and if so how many, age, sex, for example a daughter no older then ten years old)."
We reply through our alias with the following question:
"Is there a possibility that we can get a bit more information than just age and sex on the women's children - for example hair colour?"
Reply from the dating-agency came immediately: "Of course, everything is possible."
More norwegian agencies
Norwatch has put a closer look on four norwegian web-agencies, which all arrange contact between norwegian men and women from Russia and the former Soviet-union. In addition to Open World we have been in contact with the Kristiansund-registered agency orrus, which replies in this matter on an email-inquiry from Norwatch'alias:
"Yes, it is possible to know about the children of the women you are in contact with."
A third agency is NP-Contact, which despite a certain scepticism assures us:
"I know that there are few women which is listed with photos of their children, but everyone with children are listed with those + age. You can choose a membership that gives you the access to more addresses and also a better chance for a bullpoint hit"
Everyone does not open up
Norwatch was also in correspondance with a fourth web-based agency, Harmony Marriage Agency. Their website doesn't tell anything about the children, not even how many, just if they have children or not.
- I don't think this kind of information is of relevance if you want contact with a woman. And by not giving this information, we avoid being contacted by perverts, says manager of the norwegian branch, Lana Pedersen.
It was P4 who in November reported that pedophiles used dating-agencies to get in touch with single mothers. The phenomenon of pedophiles bringing in foreign women with children, is a known problem. Several sources Norwatch has been in contact with confirms this:
- We have had assault cases, or at least one where it seems that the assaulter had established contact with a child using this method, confirms Håvard Aksnes, manager of the section for sexual violence in Kripos.
Aksnes is however unknown to the fact that Norwegian websites opens up for detailed orders of women with children in this manner.
Manager Tove Smaadahl at the a Norwegian crisis-center secretariate knows about definite cases where this method has been used:
- As late as november I got a tip from a place in Nordland. A fellow villager of the tipper had just received a women with a child from a typical bride trade country. The man is twice sentenced for sexual assaults on children.
- We know about this, we have gotten reports on it, and we know that it is going on, says vice-manager Knut Haanes with the Childrens Comission when we confront him with Norwatch' findings: He means this problem increases with globalization:
- To fight this we need laws and investigation, but also leveling he says. He is also doubtful to the adequacy of norwegian legislation:
- Maybe we need to look at the legislation. There is possibly a gap between marriage-law, which is an adult-law, and adoption-law, which is a childrens-law.
The aspect of protecting children should maybe be included in marriage-law, concludes the vice-manager of the Children's comission.
In Norway it is law that adoption is to be to the best of the child and not the adoptive parents. In practice this means that the approved norwegian adoption-agencies do not give the option of choosing children of specific criterias. Not even sex is chooseable by the future adoptive parents, and far less wqualities as weight and hair-colour. This is to protect the children - but children of contact-seeking women is not protected in the same way:
- It is not as I know of prohibited to this type of procurement of children, admits judicial advisor in Norwegian youth- and adoption-office, Knut Stenberg.
The Philipines is the only country in the worl with a law that prohibits bridal-trade. The law was enacted already in 1990, as a result of a long campaign run by the international anti-women-trading-organization Gabriela against the norwegian bridal-trade-agency PhilNor (you can read more about this at http://www.akp.no/)
Must also be interested in the woman
Norwatch want to show attention to a response we got when confronting the dating-agency Open World with a very direct inquiry through another alias, directed towards children:
"All of our girls want just serious relationships. I was concerned when you wrote nothing on what kind of girl you wanted, only her child..."
NorWatch has been in contact with the owner of the website and got the following statement:
- If you just ask about the child you cannot get contact
Norwatch Newsletter 1-2/02