Lighthouse: Center for Human Trafficking Victims

(formerly Polaris Project Japan) 

 

lighthouseWho we are

Lighthouse: Center for Human Trafficking Victims is an NPO that works to eliminate the issue of human trafficking, especially sex trafficking, in Japan. We are committed to fighting for a society without human trafficking. Like a lighthouse that guides people who are lost in the dark to safe harbors, we hope to be the beacon of hope for survivors of human trafficking and to be their voice.

What we do

Based in Tokyo, Lighthouse aims to eliminate human trafficking in Japan by:

ne-neアイコン512x512Providing confidential consultation services for survivors of human trafficking via a toll-free multilingual hotline, email, LINE, and our smartphone app, “ne-ne.”

Educate and train law enforcement and government officials to recognize human trafficking survivors and investigate cases.

Blue HeartOrganize awareness campaigns and seminars to help bring more attention to the issue of human trafficking and encourage change in society. More than 29,000 people have taken our seminars and they have been able to identify survivors and report to us.

To educate more youth about human trafficking and their legal rights, in February 2015, we published a manga, Blue Heart, based on the experiences of survivors who have reached out to us in the past. Thousands of parents, teachers, social workers, librarians, and government officials have asked for copies. Blue Heart has been translated into Chinese by the Rotary Club of Taipei North.ChineseBlueHeart

Lobbing the government to change legislation, as there are currently no laws against human trafficking in Japan. Our goal is to push for the establishment of a comprehensive anti-trafficking law in Japan by 2020.

For more information, download our English pamphlet.

A message from our founder, Shihoko Fujiwara

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Until 2004, I worked at anti-trafficking organization called Polaris (formerly known as Polaris Project) in the United States, and witnessed firsthand how communities can get together to restore the freedom of survivors of human trafficking and prevent more victims. I returned to Japan and founded Lighthouse (initially known as Polaris Project Japan) eleven years ago with a deep sense of mission to eliminate human trafficking in my home country.

The scale and effort required to run this project in Japan was a lot more significant than I initially envisioned. Lighthouse first started reaching out to people, one by one, in the hope to educating them about just how serious the issue of human trafficking was in Japan. Many of those who contacted us on our hotline were at first individuals trafficked into Japan, but more and more Japanese youth who were victims of domestic trafficking began to contact us.

Surely and steadily, we have expanded our activities while remaining focused on supporting our clients and their safety. In the past year, our caseload has doubled, and together with other organizations, we are creating a network to support our work outside of Tokyo. We have connected with parents, social workers, lawyers, politicians, and bureaucrats from local government and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

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In 2015, we spoke to UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography during her visit to Japan to increase international awareness of the problems and consequences of child pornography and prostitution within the country. We also published a manga, Blue Heart, based on past cases that Lighthouse has received, which has received widespread media coverage. Through continuing our campaigns, outreach, and advocacy, our goal is to push for the establishment of a comprehensive anti-trafficking law in Japan by 2020.

Our work is just beginning. Together, we can realize a world without slavery.

Shihoko Fujiwara, Founder, NPO Lighthouse
May 2016


What human trafficking is

Human trafficking takes away one’s right to freedom by, for example, harboring and transferring, and forcing one to perform a duty using threat, fraud or coercion, in order to exploit for profit. It is modern-day slavery.

Human-Trafficking

For minors, Purpose and Act alone amounts to human trafficking even without the Means. Japan is the only developed country that has not ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols, which 186 other countries and territories participate in, leaving victims vulnerable.

YIS_card4Within Japan’s borders, human trafficking is rampant in the form of sex trafficking, particularly of youth. Unequal opportunities for women, poverty, domestic violence, and the sexual commodification of children in the mass media and popular culture form some of the root causes of the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children in Japan.

Lighthouse receives many cases from human trafficking survivors who were involved in JK businesses or compensated dating that facilitate or lead to sexual exploitation, or were forced to appear in child erotica, photographs and videos depicting children under 18 with bikinis in sexually provocative poses, or pornographic videos. These minors are typically recruited into sex trafficking networks through social networking sites or messaging smartphone apps.

Learn more about human trafficking in Japan through this video made by the students of Combat Human Trafficking Group at Yokohama International School. Lighthouse works closely with the group and they have been supporting our activities greatly.

Media coverage of human trafficking in Japan

April 11, 2016 ABC Radio News “Japan in Focus: Human Trafficking Victims in Japan”
April 4, 2016 The Asahi Shimbun “Japan confirms 26 foreign victims on human trafficking in ’15”
February 2, 2016 ABC RadioNews UN investigating involvement of high school girls in Japanese dating service providers
January 19, 2016 We News Japan Criticized for Ignoring Child Sex Abuse, Exploitation
December 28, 2015 CNN Fascination with Japanese schoolgirl culture hiding a darker side?
December 26, 2015 Al Jazeera Enjo Kosai: Paid dating with Japanese teenage students
February 22, 2015 The Japan Times Nonprofit’s manga raises awareness of teen sexual exploitation in Japan
February 20, 2015 The Asahi Shimbun Fact-inspired manga to warn teens about sex crimes
June 18, 2014 CNN Sexually explicit Japan manga evades new laws on child pornography
August 6, 2014 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime With massive support, UNODC spreads its message against human trafficking all over the world
June 6, 2014 CBC Radio Japan outlaws possession of child porn, but anime and manga still legal

 


How to support us

Become an AKARI supporter

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Lighthouse’s AKARI Supporters are a group of monthly donors who are committed to making a donation of 1,000 yen or more per month. Monthly donations will help us conduct awareness campaigns and seminars, manage the national human trafficking hotline, improve and push for better implementations of laws and policies in Japan, and much more.

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Please click below if you would like to make monthly donations via credit card.

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Make a donation by credit card

Our activities to combat human trafficking in Japan are made possible by your donations. We use your donations to help conduct awareness campaigns and seminars, support our consultation services, and enhance our advocacy efforts.

Please click below if you would like to make monthly donations via credit card.

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Make a donation by bank transfer

Please make a donation to the following bank account.

Bank: The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd.
Account name: JINSHIN TORIHIKI HIGAISHA SUPPORT CENTER LIGHTHOUSE
Branch name: Yawata Branch (Branch code: 272)
Account Type: Savings (Futsu) Account
Account number: 0043992

We thank you for your continued generosity towards Lighthouse.

Volunteer Opportunities

IMG_7240ウェブ掲載用Thank you for your interest in Lighthouse and our cause to combating human trafficking in Japan. Unfortunately, we are not taking in any volunteers at this time of year. Please check back on our website and Facebook page to see when our next intake of volunteers will be.

Internship Opportunities

Thank you for your interest in Lighthouse and our cause to combating human trafficking. We welcome applicants from any background to apply, and review applications on a rolling basis. Please note that we require interns to have business-level Japanese language ability.

For details on how to apply, please see this link.