Japan, like many countries worldwide, has a human trafficking problem. “Japan is a destination, source, and transit country for men and women subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking, and for children subjected to sex trafficking” (Trafficking In Person Report 2017).
One part of the problem is Enjo Kosai – also known as “compensated dating” which often leads towards the sex trafficking of Japanese children. Enjo Kosai is child sexual exploitation in exchange for money and/or luxury gifts by older men.
There are also sophisticated and organized prostitution networks that target vulnerable Japanese women and girls in public areas such as subways, popular youth hangouts, schools, and online. Japanese citizens, particularly runaway teenage girls, children of foreign and Japanese citizens who have acquired citizenship, and their foreign mothers, are also subjected to sex trafficking.
In the last decade the government has recognized the problem of human trafficking. In Japan, ZOE is a member of JNATIP (Japan Network Against Trafficking in Persons). This network includes NGOs, lawyers, and academics who are looking to formulate effective laws concerning the prevention of trafficking in persons, victim relief, and the punishment of perpetrators.
ZOE is also currently working in the area of prevention. ZOE’s goal in Japan is to prevent trafficking by providing education in churches, schools, and communities. ZOE plans to build a shelter in Japan for children who are at risk of or survivors of trafficking. Stay connected with the work in Japan here.