Until recently Japan had not been addressing its problem of trafficking in women for sexual exploitation. Although Japan lacks anti-trafficking legislation, the Prime Minister and his Cabinet have made a significant effort to mobilize the resources of the bureaucracy to address the trafficking issue, creating a senior coordinator presiding over an inter-ministerial committee for anti-trafficking efforts in March 2004.
The National Police Agency (NPA) has instructed prefecture offices to increase law enforcement efforts against traffickers; investigate suspect locations and possible organized crime connections; report any foreigners arrested for prostitution who may have been trafficked; provide female officers to interview female victims; and provide counseling and medical assistance as required. An Organized Crime Control Department was established in the Japanese Police in early 2004 to carry out these anti-trafficking activities.
The NPA also participated in 16 transnational investigations. Victims were not encouraged to participate in investigations or prosecutions of traffickers. However, the Immigration Service is revamping its training programs to include the proper treatment and questioning of victims. Efforts are also underway to improve screening of travelers arriving in Japan from key source countries of trafficking and to tighten the issuance of "entertainer" visas, which are often used by traffickers to bring victims to Japan.1
Japan co-hosted the Second World Congress Against Commercial and Other Forms of Sexual Exploitation of Children in Yokohama in December 2001.
The Japanese government sponsored an International Symposium in 2003 with UNICEF to raise awareness of child trafficking. The symposium drew extensive media attention and sparked the formation of the first anti-trafficking legislative working group in Japan comprised of NGOs, lawyers, and Diet members.
In 2000, the Japanese government funded a project strengthening the capacity of the Thai Woman of Tomorrow Project in Chiang Mai. The project aims to eradicate the problem of teenage prostitution by providing education to girls at risk with the cooperation of school teachers and volunteers at the village level, in the North. The Japanese Government will support the expansion of this project with the purchase of educational materials, equipment and a vehicle. The grant totaled US$ 47,194.2
The Japanese government has also funded a number of projects strengthening the capacity of the Hill-tribe people in Northern Thailand.
In August 2001, the Japanese government granted a project for the Improvement of the Living Standard of Hill-tribe People in a Remote Area of Maehongson Province.
In September 2001, the Japanese government funded the Construction of a School Building for Hill-tribe People, by the Sahasart Suksa School . This project aims to provide an improved education to Hill-tribe people in the rural area of Chiang Rai Province. The Japanese Government will fund the construction of a new three-story school building to replace the old structure that contained only eight classrooms. This will provide another 6 classrooms and more special activity rooms such as science and computer labs. The grant totals US$ 77,685.- (approximate 3.4 million baht).3
In October 2001, the Japanese government funded the Construction of an Education Center for Hill-tribe People, by Chiang Mai Hill-tribe Welfare and Development Center . This project aims at developing well-trained vocational abilities and the promotion of small industry to hilltribe people in rural areas of Northern Thailand. The Japanese Government will fund the construction of two new buildings on the mountain slopes of Chiang-Dao. The first is a two-story education center which provides a dining room on the 1st floor and a training room on the 2nd floor, with a maximum capacity of 80 persons. The other is an accommodation building. The grant totals US$ 92,592 (approximate 4.0 million baht).4
The 2003 Tokyo International Symposium on the Trafficking of Children led to the formation of an NGO coalition, the Japan Network Against Trafficking in Persons (JNATIP), which is launching an advocacy campaign for passage of anti-trafficking legislation. This network was launched with widespread media coverage, at an Asia foundation-sponsored workshop in October 2003, helping to raise the visibility of this problem and build a constituency to support the legislation.5
The Japanese government made an administrative decision not to treat victims as immediately deportable criminals. A short grace period for victims will allow the government to develop its cases against traffickers. So victims are housed in detention facilities for illegal immigrants prior to deportation. The government's prefectural shelters were open to female victims of violence and to trafficking victims, but few foreign trafficking victims utilize the shelters for fear that they will be sent to an immigration shelter and be deported.
The community of NGOs in Japan which are combating trafficking are small but well-entrenched. A small number of shelters exists run by nongovernmental organizations to provide help and services to foreign women in Japan who were forced into prostitution or other forms of exploitative labor.
The Government of Japan provides millions of dollars in assistance to countries in Southeast Asia for development, women's issues, and anti-trafficking programs. In 2003, GOJ disbursed $3 million to UNICEF, ILO, UNDP and the Philippine government to alleviate poverty, raise awareness of the dangers of trafficking, and promote alternative economic opportunities for women.
As a course of action, the Japanese government funds civil society, economic development, and humanitarian projects overseas. In particular, in 2003 the Japanese government funded a Project for Strengthening Activities to Empower Women, conducted by the Center for Girls, in Chiang Rai Province. This group was established to protect girls and women from sexual exploitation and now operates many activities, including rescuing victims of sexual abuse, encouraging volunteers for child rights promotion, staging dramas by youth groups to disseminate information about HIV and drugs, imparting knowledge of children's rights, and coordinating women's groups for income generation. The Japanese Government will fund the purchase of a vehicle and equipment for the project's activities, a Library for the local community, and a shop to sell products made by the women's group. The grant totals US$27,599 (approximately 1.2 million Baht).6
In February 2003, the Japanese Government funded a project which expands the activities for Projection of Child Rights, conducted by the Development and Education Programme for Daughter's and Communities Center in Chiang Rai province. The Japanese Government will fund the construction of a two-story multipurpose building, in order to expand the work of this center, and build it's capacity for the protection of child rights. We will also fund the purchase of a vehicle as a school bus for boarders. We understand this center endeavors to prevent children at risk from being forced into the commercial sex industry or other forms of child labor. The grant totals US$81,813 (approximate 3.5 million baht).7
In 2001, the Japanese government funded a project for the Expansion of New Life Project Facilities in Kanchanaburi Province . The Duang Prateep Foundation will implement the project in order to provide relief for girls suffering from ill-environment by providing more sufficient treatment with improved environment. The Japanese Government will fund the installation of a new electrical system, the purchase of educational and sports equipment and a vehicle under the project. The grant totaled US$56,555.8
In October 2001, the Japanese Government funded the Construction of a Clinic Center for Women, by World Vision Foundation of Thailand. This project aims at providing improved public health service, and enlightenment on primary health care, focused on HIV/AIDS, to poor local Thai people and Burmese migrants, especially women, in Ranong Province . The Japanese Government will fund the construction of a new three-story building. This will provide a clinic and a dispensary on the 1st floor, a meeting room on the 2nd floor, and accommodation on the 3rd floor. The grant totals US$92,613 (approximate 4.0 million baht).9
Search the entirety of the site for resources or updates.