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Online ads of marriage agencies under scrutiny

The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family said Monday it will review online video advertisements by international matchmaking agencies to see if any of them incite bias or are likely to infringe on human rights.

Several marriage brokers have recently been ordered by the ministry to delete ads that sexually objectify women or promote bias. Some, for instance, claim that women of certain nationalities have “nice figures” and are “simple.”

The ministry said it will look into all video ads on international matchmaking agencies’ websites, YouTube clips, blogs and online communities through July 20 to look for possible violations of the law on marriage brokers such as the use of a person’s photos or videos without his or her approval.


The Marriage Brokers Business Management Act prohibits brokers from advertising in a manner likely to instigate discrimination or prejudice based on nationality, race, gender, age, occupation, etc.

The law also bans ads likely to lead to human trafficking or infringement of human rights, or provide false information.

Those found to have violated the law will be ordered to immediately delete the ad. If they do not comply, they will be subject to criminal charges or administrative measures such as suspension of business and cancellation of business registration.

“Illegal video ads by international marriage brokers tarnish Korea’s image and cause social problems such as prejudice or discrimination against multicultural families,” said Lee Ki-soon, head of the ministry’s office for youth and family policy.

“We will regularly check on online video ads of international marriage brokers.”

By Kim So-hyun (