It also offers a brief description of Japan's large and varied sex industry, and of the role of foreign women within this labor sector.
Recommendations OWED JUSTICEThai Women Trafficked into Debt Bondage in Japan Human Rights Watch New York Washington London Brussels Copyright September 2000 by Human Rights Watch. This chapter begins with an overview of the patterns and characteristics of labor migration between Thailand and Japan, and in the region more generally, to provide a better understanding of some of the forces underlying the movement of women from Thailand to Japan.
International Legal Standards On Trafficking In Women VI. Migration between Asian countries has grown steadily since the early 1980s, when just over one million Asians were working in other countries in the region, to more than 6.5 million by mid-1997.
Economic forces in the sending country "push" migrants out when they are unable to find employment in adequately paying jobs; other migrants are "pulled" into the receiving country, usually by rapid economic growth which requires an inflow of cheap, unskilled labor.
These "undocumented" migrants are typically excluded from labor law protections and other state services, by law and/or practice.
By the mid-1970s, package sex tours were being advertised to Thailand, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Korea, and many companies included "weekend sex holidays" overseas as part of employees' yearly bonuses.
And, even more striking, the number of foreign nationals estimated to be residing illegally in Japan has almost tripled in less than a decade, from 106,000 in 1990 to 283,000 in 1997.
The vast majority entered the country through legal channels, but traveled on falsified documents or remained in Japan beyond their visa expiration date, and most are believed to be working in violation of immigration regulations.
Japanese economic expansion included large-scale investment in Thailand, often through joint ventures with Thai companies, thus fostering close economic ties between the two countries.
In 1993, the Thai Ministry of Labor estimated that there were 370,500 Thai nationals working abroad--counting both documented and undocumented migrants--including 100,000 in Japan and 216,000 in other Asian countries.