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Type of document: News
Topic: Actions/initiatives/projects
Policy and Planning
Trafficking patterns
Geographic descriptors: Japan
Language: English
Publisher: Yomiuiri.co.jp
Source: www.yomiuri.co.jp/newse/20050207wo31.htm
Date of publication: 6 February 2005
Long Abstract: The government, in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), will start helping victims of human trafficking return to their home countries from April, according to sources.

According to the sources, the government's assistance will largely center on helping foreign women who would like to return home but do not have enough money to do so after coming to Japan on entertainment visas and being forced to work in the sex industry.

The government and the IOM hope to return 50 such people a year. In an effort to dispel international criticism that Japan has turned a blind eye to human trafficking, the government compiled a comprehensive action plan on the issue in December.

Helping victims of human trafficking return to their home countries is part of the action plan's main theme, offering victims protection. "Although many of these people are victims of severe human rights violations, they are often seen as nothing more than visa overstayers," a senior official of the Foreign Ministry said.

The government plans to assist the victims in many ways, ranging from their return home to resettling there.

As part of its plan, the government will take the testimonies of human trafficking victims, asking them about their victimization, after they have been discovered by police or the Immigration Bureau or have applied for police protection.

The government will grant the victims special residence status in cases where they do not have residential status. The government will then arrange employment and accommodation in their home countries in cooperation with other governments and nongovernmental organizations.

It also will offer to cover their travel and other expenses.
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