Women Trafficking And The Yakuza

Published 07 Jul 2017

Human trafficking is not a novel issue that the Southeast-Asian region is faced,’. In fact, it is noteworthy that this issue has been haunting this part of Asia for years now. Individuals, especially women, are being illegally transported from one country to another for purposes of rendering work, or worse, so they may be lured into the sex industry. The existence of this problem is undeniable, yet the most effective solution to the same seems to be so elusive that governments are still trying their very best to combat this predicament called trafficking of women. It is advanced that the causes of the trafficking of women should first be scrutinized to eventually determine the best way of attacking this critical issue.

The Yakuza

As Japan is one of the most popular destinations when it comes to human trafficking, it is worthy to investigate if there exist groups or organizations in the said jurisdiction which may have been facilitating the illegal transportation of women into their borders. One said organization powerful enough to be investigated on would be The Yakuza. Considering the number of its members and the connections it has built throughout the years it had existed, the possibility that it has a huge connection to the problem of trafficking cannot be characterized as remote. As pointed out in an article, “Drawing on the contacts they had established, yakuza partnered with local agents throughout the region and developed transnational networks that were able to recruit large numbers of women each year, arrange their travel to Japan, and connect them with different employers in the Japanese sex industry” (Dinan 2002).

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The Japanese Government and Doubts about its Efforts

The Japanese government has been trying its best to combat the growing problem of women trafficking into Japan. The government admits and aware of how serious of a problem the trafficking of women in Japan is. Some laws have been framed for purposes of criminalizing and eventually imposing a corresponding penalty on acts that are tantamount to human or women trafficking into its jurisdiction. It must be noted, however, that based on reviews, the government should exert more effort when it comes to battling the issue at hand. Humantrafficking.org reported that in 2007, the Japanese Government was cited by the U.S. Department of State for not being in full compliance with the minimum standards mandated by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (“Japan”). In addition, it has also been pointed out by Human Rights Watch that although the Japanese government acknowledges the existence of women trafficking as a problem, “the Japanese government lacks policies designed specifically to respond to trafficking and has yet to aggressively enforce existing laws against forced labor, forced prostitution, illegal confinement, coercive job placement, and other severe abuses committed against trafficked women by traffickers and employers” (2000).


The trafficking of women into Japan from other countries within the Southeast Asian region has been linked to the propagation of sex trade in Japan. The Yakuza is considered as one of the biggest and strongest supporters of human trafficking, considering the amount of power and global connection that this organization has. Although it cannot be denied that the government of Japan has been exerting efforts to combat this growing issue, we have yet to see how these efforts can turn out to be real results in attacking the trafficking of women for purposes of luring them into the sex industry. It is worthy to scrutinize whether or not the noblest of intentions of the Japanese government will be enough when brought face to face with the power and strength of the Yakuza.


  • Cameron S and Newman E, ‘Trafficking of Filipino Women to Japan: Examining the Experiences and Perspectives of Victims and Government Experts’
  • Dinan, KA 2002, ‘Trafficking in Women from Thailand to Japan: The Role of Organized Crime and Governmental Response,’ Harvard Asia Quarterly, vol. VI, no. 3
  • Fujimoto N 2006, ‘Trafficking in Persons and the Filipino Entertainers in Japan’, Our rights Osaka
  • Human Rights Watch 2001, ‘OWED JUSTICE: Thai Women Trafficked into Debt Bondage in Japan’
  • Kaplan E and Dubro A 2003, ‘Yakuza: Japan’s Criminal Underworld,’ University of California Press ‘Japan’
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