I'm thinking of visiting the Kazakh parts of Mongolia, so that I can attend some kind of eagle festival, as the events there sound more interesting than those in a standard Mongol naadam.

However, I've heard about non-consensual bride kidnapping happening in that part of Mongolia. Are tourists, or staff they hire, possibly from other parts of Mongolia, such as translators or drivers at risk of being the target of non-consensual bride kidnapping?

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    I have been out in the Kazakh wilderness on horseback where there are no roads and it's my view they are more likely to steal the horse. The food is... let's just say... different. Take a packed lunch.
    – Gayot Fow
    Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 15:05
  • @gayot are you implying they steal the horses to eat them? O_o
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 22:13
  • @AndrewGrimm, lol, no those were unconnected thoughts. Seriously, the country side is awesome. And yes, I would be concerned up near the border about kidnapping. But that's an opinion. I have nothing to support it. Not even my profile pic :)
    – Gayot Fow
    Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 22:38

1 Answer 1


Bride kidnapping, in general, is specific to the Kazakh community. It's not what Western communities would imagine of kidnapping, in that the woman's family is often aware of it happening and indeed (and terribly) their knowledge of it is used to help pressure the woman into agreeing via social isolation and exclusion. It's largely ritualized and does not involve random people off the street:

In the case of non-consensual bride kidnapping, a woman is physically kidnapped by a man she hardly knows or by a man she is clearly not interested in.

As such you and your travelling companions shouldn't be targets for bride kidnapping.

However there are anecdotes about foreigner abduction and ransom in Mongolia, despite official figures to the contrary. That would be of more concern, but it seems that occurrences are no more likely in the Kazakh parts of Mongolia as opposed to any other part of the country, or indeed other countries.

  • It's similar in Kyrgyzstan too - basically an extreme form of ritualised forced arranged marriage. Awful, but unlikely to involve foreigners. At least, not directly - a Western guy I knew got pressurised into marrying his Kyrgyz girlfriend because her family told him they'd decided she was at an age where if she didn't marry him, they'd arrange to have her bride-kidnapped. No idea if that was true or aggressive negotiation on their part - but like other forms of forced marriage it seems common for the victims' families to be complicit. The poor women are completely on their own. Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 19:22

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