As we face the problem of human trafficking among Japanese children, we discovered many problems related to sexual exploitation, such as force of appearances for pornography and other sexual exploitations. The background is different from other countries that are havingissues of sex trafficking due to poverty. The situation in Japan is quite unique.
Many parents tend to put children under pressure for them to be academically successful. “Success” means to get good grades and get into a good university, which then will lead to a successful career in the future.
In Japan, there are an estimated 34,288 reports of missing children and young people from teenagers to those in their 20s in 2016. Family relationships seem to be a main cause for this. There are cases where children are being neglected by parents as well. “Trust” and “security” are missing in the relationship between parents and children.
There is a famous Japanese proverb that says, “Deru kui wa utareru” (the stake that sticks up gets hammered down). It means “if you stand out, you will be subject to criticism.” In schools, children are under the constant pressure to act and behave in the same way as others around them. There is risk of being bullied if a child chooses to do something unique or different from the majority of the group. This is a very exhausting friendship children face in schools as well as society.
There is a lack of encouragement, someone to say “you are valuable the way you are”
around these children. Traffickers prey on these children who are craving love and affection. Sadly, the strategy to coax those into trafficking is similar to those in other countries. Traffickers camouflage themselves to be a scouting agent for modeling jobs, and sometimes even a potential boyfriend/girlfriend. Before a child realizes it,he/she is victimized to appear on various pornography outlets and forced to do other sexual services. They are in bondage to the trafficker who gives them an irrational debt and proclaims not to release him/her until the debt is paid. They also know all of the child’s information, including parents, friends, school, and etc.
Japan is a country that is economically blessed and our physical and material needs are always taken care of, but the voice of children crying out for love and affection is drowned out by the noise of parents and society.
What do Japanese children need?
- Loving and caring parents (adults) who accept and value them for who they are
- Biblical counseling that can help children to make better decisions in life
- Biblical truth and teaching about sex that God has designed
One thing we can all do for the children of Japan is PRAY! Needs are great in Japan. Not necessarily physical or material needs, but spiritual need is crucial. This is why ZOE is passionate about doing prevention work in Japan through sharing the love of God in Christ. We believe that we can make a huge difference and bring light to children’s lives through Jesus.