[Stop-traffic] News/THAILAND: JAPAN DOING LITTLE TO HALT VICE RACKET....

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/THAILAND: JAPAN DOING LITTLE TO HALT VICE RACKET....
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Wed Oct 25 2000 - 10:12:09 EDT


9-21-00 THAILAND: JAPAN DOING LITTLE TO HALT VICE RACKET....
BANGKOK POST (MAIN SECTION) PAGE 4
HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Japan doing little to halt vice racket
Most victims left in legal limbo
Post Reporters
Thousands of Thai women are sent to Japan every year to serve in the sex
industry but the Japanese government does nothing to stop the racket, Human
Rights Watch said yesterday.
The Thai government had made "significant efforts" to prevent trafficking
and to help victims but enforcement of Thai laws and policies was weak.
Some women had lost the right to freedom of movement and travel.
The Thai and Japanese governments, as participants in the drafting of a
United Nations anti-trafficking protocol, should ensure that the document
includes strong provisions to protect the human rights and physical safety
of trafficking victims, it said.
A 227-page report titled "Owed Justice: Thai Women Trafficked into Debt
Bondage in Japan", found that Thai women were typically promised lucrative
jobs by traffickers in Thailand, but arrived in Japan only to find
themselves trapped in debt, the group said.
"To repay these exorbitant sums - usually US$25,000 to US$40,000 - they
must work for months or even years, without pay, under highly coercive and
abusive conditions," said the report.
"Japanese officials have publicly expressed concern for the victims of
trafficking. But over the course of a six-year investigation in both Japan
and Thailand, Human Rights Watch found that the Japanese government has
taken no concrete steps to stamp out the practice," it said.
Help offered by the Thai government "does not include any effort to
facilitate trafficked women's access to justice in Japan," it said.
As well, the Thai government only helped women who could prove Thai
citizenship, leaving others "stranded in Japan, living in legal limbo and
separated indefinitely from their families and friends." A victim
identified as Pot told Human Rights Watch that she had agreed to go to
Japan in 1990 on the understanding that she would work in a factory and get
50% of her salary until her debt was paid off.
But the Nakhon Sawan woman found herself saddled with a large debt which
she had to pay off by providing sex services. "In all, I worked for eight
months to pay back my debt and I had calculated that I must have paid it
back long ago, but the mama kept lying to me and said she didn't have the
same records as I did."During these eight months, I had to take every
client that wanted me and had to work every day," she said. Nuch, from
Chiang Rai, ended up HIV-positive after being brutally beaten by her
"broker", resold twice (once for a suspected escape attempt), and having
her debts doubled. Chan escaped from debt bondage after two months but
after being deported back to Thailand was followed back to her home in
Nakhon Ratchasima province by an agent who demanded payment of the rest of
the debt. "I was afraid so I left my family's home and came to Bangkok,"
she told Human Rights Watch.
BANGKOK POST 21/09/2000
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