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Shihoko Fujiwara: Human trafficking “Modern-day slavery in Japan”
The U.S. Government has designated Japan a Tier 2 human trafficking country for eleven consecutive years. Tier 2 countries are defined as countries whose governments do not comply with minimum international standards. This ranks Japan below Taiwan and South Korea (Tier 1) and most western European states, in the same category as Hong Kong, Brazil, India, Israel, and Switzerland, and above Russia and China (Tier 2- Watch List).
The trafficking industry in Japan affects hundreds of thousands of Japanese citizens and foreigners alike, the vast majority of whom are women and children. Many are forced into the illegal prostitution industry by means of deceit, intimidation, or violence. The Japanese government has long been accused of turning a blind eye to this issue, and they have yet to take the necessary steps to end trafficking for the purposes of forced labor and prostitution and child pornography in Japan once and for all.
Polaris Project Japan has worked since 2004 to increase awareness of trafficking in Japan, provide support for victims, and give guidance to policymakers. The director of Polaris Project Japan, Shihoko Fujiwara, will discuss the current state and trajectory of human trafficking in Japan, and what each of us can do to help bring it to an end. (Please visit http://polarisproject.jp/engsite/aboutus for more information.)