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European Journal

Ireland/Latvia: The Golden Immigration Card

An increasing number of Asian men are starting to see marriage with Latvian women as their admission ticket to the European Union. It's all thanks to a loophole in EU law - and the relaxed attitude of Irish officials.

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The Irish-Latvian connection is ideal for human traffickers. Irish registry offices make only the most cursory checks as to whether the couple actually even know each other. And the Baltic states have sufficient numbers of women wanting to escape from a bad economic situation. Anyone having second thoughts is forced to go through with the marriage anyway, often under threat or actual use of violence. Out of shame or fear of retribution, many women keep silent about their experiences after returning home.