Japan, land of the rising sun… A country so popular we often relate to Voltes V, an anime so popular way back in the 1970’s featuring a giant robot fighting to save the earth from alien forces invading our planet.
While it is true that Japan creates various anime’s that feature heroes that save humanity and mankind, there is also a deep dark secret connected with the portrayal of these heroes.
Japan is one of several destinations and transit countries to which men, women, and children are trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation… Most officially identified trafficking victims are foreign women who migrate willingly to Japan seeking work, but are later subjected to debts of up to $50,000 that make them vulnerable to trafficking for sexual exploitation or labor exploitation. A significant number of Japanese women and girls have also been reported as sex trafficking victims.
Many women trafficked into the sex trade had their movements strictly controlled by their employers and were threatened with reprisals, sometimes through members of organized crime groups, to themselves or their families if they tried to escape.
Employers often isolated the women, subjected them to constant surveillance, and used violence to punish them for disobedience. There were reports that some brokers used drugs to subjugate victims. Many trafficked women also knew that they were subject to arrest if found without their passports or other identification documents. Few spoke Japanese well, making escape even more difficult.
Trafficking in Persons refer to the recruitment, transportation, transfer or harboring, or receipt of persons with or without the victim’s consent or knowledge, within or across national borders by means of threat or use of force, or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud or deception, abuse of power or disposition, taking advantage of the vulnerability of the person, or the giving and receiving of payments to achieve the consent of the person having control over the other person for the purpose of exploitation which includes at a minimum, the exploitation or prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery, servitude, or sale of human organs.
Consent of the victim is not an issue when there is coercion or deception.
There are many factors that contribute to the trafficking of women and children in Japan such as globalization or immigrant labor from the Philippines or any other country; the demand for entertainment services, the role of the Yakuza in obtaining the victims through deceit either through the government or agencies within the government.
We may never realize that some of these victims are led to this situation with promises of a better future from certain recruitment agencies or persons, having connections with the Yakuza, who recruit them as household helpers, waitresses or even caregivers for some families in Japan.
These people in turn receive favors from the Yakuza as payment for their services.
We should promote in extent the laws which will protect our brethren from being used as sex slaves in Japan.
In addition, due to the government infrastructure, there are hundreds of independent and government-licensed recruitment agencies that arrange migrant workers travel and employment.
Many of these recruitment agencies operate outside the law.
Some knowingly used false documents but were unaware of the degree to which these documents could later be used as leverage against them.
This practice of traveling undocumented or with false documents potentially blurs the line between smuggling and trafficking as in some cases, women appear to have agreed to be smuggled into Japan and perhaps they have. They have been trafficked, however, if when they reach their destination, their traffickers’ deceptions are revealed, and they lose control of their situation.
The Philippine Government is aware that Filipino women are being trafficked.
In early 2000, the Deputy Executive Director of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas acknowledged that trafficked Filipinos include women who are “legitimately” recruited, promised high-paying jobs, but end up as prostitutes; women who leave as tourists and end up as domestic helpers, exotic dancers, or bar girls; and women who are willing or coerced victims of the mail-order bride trade
The enormous size of the migrant worker “industry”, its highly structured operation and the fact that it is government instigated, provide some rationale for why women might accept job offers for overseas work.
Additionally, many Filipino women are faced with a profound lack of job opportunities and little or no opportunity to improve their circumstances. Poverty is widespread and sections of the population are undernourished.
Many trafficking victims fall prey to deception because they seek a better life or enhanced economic opportunities. They are vulnerable to false promises of good jobs and higher wages.
Criminal groups are the culprits when it comes to trafficking women into Japan. “The reality is that human trafficking has become a big business for organized crime
The United Nations must perform its role to stop the trafficking of persons in Japan.
It is a moral obligation imposed upon them as protector of the world.
The ICRC or International Committee of the Red Cross, as promoter of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, as well should, do their task in implementing the laws for the protection of these victims of abuse.
Lastly, for us, the challenge is enormous. At the very least, progress to reduce the number of women trafficked into Japan cannot be made without debate about: migration and the need for skilled labor who require appropriate rights and protective mechanisms.
The role of government of Japan is to ensure appropriate legislation, policies, enforcement and support for victims is in place.
Just like the way they promote it by the creation of these anime’s involving robots that protect the human race, Japan should move to eradicate organized crime that is solely responsible for these inhuman acts.