Last Updated: Friday, 04 September 2015, 14:31 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2002 Trafficking in Persons Report - Japan

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 5 June 2002
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2002 Trafficking in Persons Report - Japan, 5 June 2002, available at: [accessed 5 September 2015]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Japan (Tier 2)

Japan is a destination country for women trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation and for men trafficked for labor purposes. Some internal trafficking exists, as illegal migrants engaged in commercial sexual exploitation are sold and become bound by debt to the new "owner." Female trafficking victims come from Southeast Asia, especially Thailand and the Philippines, and increasingly from Colombia, Russia and other states of the former Soviet Union. Male victims come primarily from China and other Asian countries.

The Government of Japan does not yet fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Although Japan does not have a law against trafficking, some traffickers have been prosecuted under related laws. Investigations and punishments appear to be uneven, with some traffickers being tried for minor crimes and receiving light or suspended sentences. In general, trafficking victims are viewed as illegal immigrants under Japanese law, and are deported, which is inappropriate treatment for victims. Protection is not available to all victims: temporary shelter is only provided to foreign victims who approach the government for help. Police and immigration officials have received special training to assist victims of trafficking. Various measures to protect witnesses who testify against traffickers are in place, although victims are generally not encouraged to press charges. The government engages in awareness raising on Japanese laws, particularly those that prevent commercial sexual exploitation of children, and has sponsored international anti-trafficking conferences. Japan has also sponsored anti-trafficking information campaigns in source countries. Other prevention efforts include assistance to international organizations that conduct economic and social development programs in source countries for at-risk individuals.

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