(formerly Polaris Project Japan)
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.
Based in Tokyo, Lighthouse aims to eliminate human trafficking in Japan by:
Providing confidential consultation services for survivors of human trafficking via a toll-free multilingual hotline, email, and LINE”
Educate and train law enforcement and government officials to recognize human trafficking survivors and investigate cases.
Organize 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, and also in English.
To purchase Blue Heart in English, please click here.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Within 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.
Through secure donation site provided by Syncable.Inc.
Please make a donation to the following bank account.
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.
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.
Due to high volume of cases and limited capacity as a organization, currently we are unable to take requests from researchers and students for interviews/questionnaire. Thank you very much for your understanding.