Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Japan may crack down on sex trafficking

TOKYO, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Japan is expected to introduce legislation this week to crackdown on trafficking in women for sexual purposes.

The Times of London reports Japan only recognized sex trafficking in July, and police have made little use of statutes allowing them to raid brothels.

In 2004, a U.S. State Department report harshly criticized Japan, concluding the country "has yet to make a significant effort to lessen the domestic demand for trafficking victims." Japan, the world's second-largest economy, was ranked with Belarus, Colombia Ivory Coast and other poor countries for its failure.

Keiko Otsu, who runs a shelter for women in Tokyo, said women who are trafficked are often victimized a second time by the Japanese authorities if they manage to escape.

She said those who come to the shelter are "genuinely terrified, often trembling uncontrollably."

"They know that they can't go to the police because they have no visas," she said. "They fear that if they are spotted coming to the shelter they will be killed, or that their families back home will be hurt by thugs."

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