Human trafficking in Japan

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Human trafficking in Japan
Red-light districts are popular hangouts for sex workers.[1] (Nakasu, Fukuoka)
Sources People’s Republic of China, South Korea, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, Russia, Latin America
Perpetrators Snakehead, Yakuza,[2] Russian mafia, Triads, Iranian gangs,[3] Nigerian gangs

According to the United States' State Department, Japan is a major destination, source, and transit country for men and women subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Victims of human trafficking include male and female migrant workers, women and children lured to Japan by fraudulent marriages and forced into prostitution, as well as Japanese nationals, "particularly runaway teenage girls and foreign-born children of Japanese citizens who acquired nationality." According to the 2014 U.S. State Department's Trafficking in Persons Report, "The Government of Japan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so."[4]

Japan was the only G8 country to be placed in Tier 2, and one of seven OECD countries in that tier (along with Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Mexico, Portugal, and Turkey).[5] Japan is also one of two OECD countries that has yet to ratify the 2000 UN TIP Protocol (the other is South Korea).[6]

In 2005 Irene Khan, then the Secretary General of Amnesty International, stated that the country was the biggest receiving country for human trafficking and there were a lot of people being trafficked from Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, South America, to Japan.[7]


Main article: Karayuki-san

Karayuki-san was the name given to Japanese girls and women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who were trafficked from poverty stricken agricultural prefectures in Japan to destinations in East Asia, Southeast Asia, Siberia (Russian Far East), Manchuria, and British India to serve as prostitutes and sexually serviced men from a variety of races, including Chinese, Europeans, native Southeast Asians, and others.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Eliminating criminal organizations from red-light districts all over the country, formulating a reforming plan", December 13, 2004, Yahoo! News (Japanese)
  2. ^ "Snakeheads in the Garden of Eden: Immigrants, Smuggling, and Threats to Social Order in Japan", H. Richard Friman
  3. ^ "May 2001 Newspaper Headlines", Hokuriku Economic Federation (Japanese)
  4. ^ "Trafficking in Persons 2014 Report: Country Narrative: Japan". Trafficking in Persons Report 2014. U.S. Department of State (2014). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. ^ "Trafficking in Persons 2014 Report: Tier Placements". Trafficking in Persons Report 2014. U.S. Department of State (2014).
  6. ^ "Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime". United Nations Treaty Collection. United Nations Treaty Collection (2014).
  7. ^ "Amnesty Secretary General expects Japan's human rights awareness improving", June 6, 2005, Livedoor News (Japanese)