When ZOE International heard about child trafficking in Japan, we immediately took steps toward how we can help Japanese children. We have already made friends with others who are bringing solutions to this problem.
Japan, like many countries worldwide, has a human trafficking problem. A large portion of this is called Enjo Kosai- also known as "compensated dating". JK Business (JK stands for Joshi-kosei, or high school girl) is a type of dating that often leads towards the sex trafficking of Japanese children. It is a form of child prostitution by girls doing sexual favors or companionship 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.
Japan has been helped through NGO’s coming in to help with the problem. In the last decade the government in Japan has recognized the problem of human trafficking in their country. The Japanese Network Against Trafficking in Persons (JNATIP), has been instrumental in their lobbying efforts to get policy changes made on the governmental level. In 2005, Japan made human trafficking illegal along side other nations due to growing international pressure. The government continues to make efforts to find and convict traffickers.
Our initial goal at ZOE Japan is to prevent trafficking by educating churches, schools, and communities by bringing awareness of the Human Trafficking problem in Japan. The reality is that anyone could be a victim. Prevention through education can help prevent potential tragedy to vulnerable at-risk national/international HT victims in Japan. This is true anywhere in the world. Prevention is part of the long term solution to trafficking worldwide.
Immigrants and foreigners often come to Japan for the purpose of work. There are men, women, and children who become exploited into sex trafficking or forced labor unknowingly and unwillingly while looking for jobs. Often they have to pay off an unreasonable debt incurred for the organization's services. Sometimes, Japanese men promise women from South-East Asia or other countries to marry them and bring them to Japan legally, but they end up being exploited in sex trafficking.
CHRISTIANITY IN JAPAN
In Japan, freedom of religion is a legal right, but Christianity in Japan is a religious minority, which constitutes about 1-3 million of the estimated 127 million residents (or 1.3%). One of the objectives of ZOE Japan is to share the Good News about Christ to those who have never heard about Jesus.
In April 2016, Hiromi Hataji left her job after working in the pharmaceutical industry for almost 30 years. She felt called to do something new for the rest of her life but did not know what it would be. She started praying for God to show her His way and open the next door. When she heard about ZOE's vision of establishing ZOE JAPAN, rescuing children from human trafficking, she was very excited to become involved in this pioneering work which was beyond her imagination.
Hiromi studied at the University of Kansas earning a bachelor's degree in Journalism in 1987. After returning to Japan, she met up with an old college friend in Tokyo who invited her to the Japan Navigators. She began attending Bible study and became involved with discipleship training. From there, she became a Christian.
The gospel freed her from the fundamental questions, "who am I" and "what do I live for". Hiromi believes that once people know the truth, they are freed and receive God's everlasting peace and joy. She is excited about seeing God's work through the ZOE JAPAN ministry.
Yuri was born and raised in a Christian family whose father is a pastor in Kyoto Japan and later she moved to Southern California for her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at The Master’s University. During her senior year, she found out about ZOE and became an intern at ZOE USA office. From the experience and learning about human trafficking in the world, God gave her a strong desire and burning passion to help more children in darkness go free and give them true healing and restoration in Christ.
As she graduated from her university, she decided to follow God’s calling to go back to her mother country and be a missionary to establish ZOE JAPAN. Her desire is that more Japanese people will be aware of a problem of human trafficking and her country will rise to fight against the evil, and most importantly, more people will come to know Christ in a country that has only 1% Christianity today by declaring the true King, our almighty God.