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There is such concern that a bill will soon go before the US Congress in an attempt to regulate the mail order brides. The US is the chief importer of Filipino mail order brides, followed by Australia. Irishmen will soon join the thousands from the West who make the journey every year. Many will have corresponded with several women at the same time, choosing one when they visit. Because of the cost of traveling around the country's 700 islands and other difficulties, the mail order brides are sometimes gathered together to make it easier.

Mail order brides is not an appropriate term
Arlene Ami, a Canadian-Filipino film-maker, filmed the process for her documentary Say I Do. In one scene she interviews the owner of an agency as he arranges pictures by hair colour before putting them online. "The term mail-order brides is really a Western one," she says. "It's not widely used in the Philippines, where they usually more innocently refer to it as 'pen pals'." Filipino mail order brides prime motivator is economic. In the Philippines 70 per cent of the population lives in poverty. The Filipino government encourages emigration, as returned money bolsters the economy. It has become the world's largest exporter of workers, the majority of them women, and it is often those without qualifications who turn to mail order brides agencies. Ami found that many of the mail order brides and their families had quite naive expectations, with romantic ideas about marrying a foreigner. "One woman expressed how fearful she was but said that her fate was in God's hands. Religion comes in to play here, and even if they hear of negative experiences they are willing to take the risk that it won't happen to them."

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