Cablegate: Explaining U.S. Concerns About Tip Shelters In
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHJO RUEHPOD
DE RUEHKO #3955/01 2390503
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 270503Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6931
INFO RUEHZS/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXI/LABOR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TOKYO 003955
FOR G/TIP, EAP/J, EAP/RSP, L/LEI
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM KCRM KWMN JA
SUBJECT: EXPLAINING U.S. CONCERNS ABOUT TIP SHELTERS IN
REF: A. HANSEN + G/TIP + EAP/J + EAP/RSP + L/LEI EMAIL
B. TOKYO 3186
1. Embassy Tokyo Political Officer met August 23 with MOFA
International Organized Crime Division TIP Officer Hiroko
Sasahara to discuss the Japanese government's reliance on
prefecture-level public shelters to protect victims of human
trafficking. Embassy Political Officer delivered Ref A's
"Clarification of Action 1" (full text in paragraph 2) to
Sasahara to clarify the first action item of the "Roadmap to
Tier 1," presented to the Japanese government July 2 (Ref B).
Sasahara said she will forward the document to the other
members of Japan's anti-TIP inter-ministerial committee.
2. Begin paper text:
Clarification of Action 1, Tier 1 Roadmap
Reliance on the prefecture-level domestic violence shelters,
"Women's Consulting Centers," (WCCs) does not meet Minimum
Standard 4, Criteria 2. At present, counseling for victims
in their native language is not provided at WCCs, there are
no policies or programs to encourage victim testimony, WCC
personnel are not receiving sufficient training in the
specific treatment needs of trafficking victims, and there is
inadequate assessment of the consequences of repatriation.
Fully utilizing pre-existing specialized anti-trafficking NGO
shelters, funding their expansion if necessary, or,
alternatively creating new shelters that are dedicated to
providing specialized services to victims of human
trafficking, including counseling in multiple languages,
would meet the minimum standards of this part of the
Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA).
Minimum Standard 4, Criteria 2: Whether the government of
the country protects victims of severe forms of trafficking
in persons and encourages their assistance in the
investigation and prosecution of such trafficking, including
provisions for legal alternatives to their removal to
countries in which they would face retribution or hardship,
and ensures that victims are not inappropriately
incarcerated, fined, or otherwise penalized solely for
unlawful acts as a direct result of being trafficked.
A. Victims must have access to native-language counseling.
A safe and rehabilitative environment is the foundation of
protection and is a precondition for encouraging victims'
participation in investigations and prosecutions.
Native-language counseling for victims is critical to
creating a safe environment and essential to the
rehabilitation of victims, some of whom have experienced
violent trauma. Although funding is provided for WCCs to
procure interpretation services, (usually used for interviews
with law enforcement officials), WCC staff have confirmed
that these interpreters are not trained in victim counseling.
There are reports of interpreters using the same
interrogative interviewing techniques with victims that they
use with criminals, adding to the victims' psychological
B. Victims must be encouraged to assist in investigations
"Japan's Action Plan of Measures to Combat Trafficking in
Persons" does not mention encouraging TIP victims to assist
in investigations and prosecutions. If government officials
do not place a high priority on obtaining assistance from
victims, police and WCC personnel will be less likely to
encourage victims to assist. Staff working at WCCs
acknowledged that they discourage victims from participating
in investigations because the longer length of stay necessary
when victims participate drains WCCs' limited resources. WCC
staff reported that they told a victim that they could not
contact a lawyer on the victim's behalf because they didn't
have any instructions from the government.
The "Manual for Assisting Trafficking Victims in Women's
Consulting Centers" directs WCCs to "coordinate with police
and other agencies" but does not give any clear procedures
for assisting victims in filing criminal or civil complaints
against their alleged traffickers. The guidelines only apply
"if a victim wants to prosecute," but does not give any
instructions for encouraging victims to do so.
An emotionally safe environment is a prerequisite for
encouraging victims to participate in investigations and
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prosecutions. Without access to native-language counseling,
victims do not feel emotionally safe, and often reportedly
choose to repatriate before any court proceedings. In
addition, there is no way for victims to stay in Japan long
enough to participate in court cases if they do not want to
stay in WCCs that are hostile to the expense of a long term
stay. Although victims may qualify for "permission for
special-stay" from the Immigration Bureau, this status does
not allow for long-term residence, and victims do not have
access to welfare and generally may not work. Without the
possibility of being allowed to live and work freely in
Japan, victims are limited to WCCs where they often do not
feel emotionally safe, and therefore choose to quickly
repatriate. According to WCC personnel, the average length
of a victim's stay is approximately two weeks. Two weeks is
not sufficient for victims of human trafficking to recuperate
and make decisions about their futures or about participation
in court cases.
C. WCC personnel are not trained in the specific treatment
needs of TIP victims.
Victims of human trafficking require different services and
care than victims of domestic abuse. Counseling must be
tailored to the unique trauma that trafficking victims
experience, and counselors must have language skills and
cultural sensitivity. Although the government organizes
annual conferences for the WCCs and has distributed the
"Manual for Assisting Trafficking Victims in Women's
Consulting Centers" to all the WCCs, these measures are not
an adequate substitute for formal training. WCC personnel
openly say that they do not have adequate training, human
resources, budget, or guidance from the government to
effectively treat victims of human trafficking. By not
ensuring that WCC staff members are trained to facilitate the
specific needs of human trafficking victims, the government
cannot adequately protect the victims, which is required by
Minimum Standard 4, Criteria 2.
D. The government is not adequately assessing the
consequences of repatriation.
IOM has verified that at least one victim was re-trafficked
to Japan following repatriation, indicating an inadequate
assessment of the possible hardship or retribution that the
victim would face upon repatriation. WCC personnel have
confirmed that there is no program to determine whether
victims may face hardship or retribution if they are returned
to their country of origin prior to their referral to IOM.
Although IOM includes relevant questions in their
pre-repatriation survey, the questions are not an adequate
substitute for a face-to-face interview by a trained
counselor. In addition, because IOM's involvement in a case
indicates by definition that the victim will be repatriated,
the organization's assessment is not conducted within the
context of providing alternatives to repatriation. There
must be a systematic assessment of the conditions that
victims will face upon repatriating prior to the commencement
of preparations for repatriation in order to comply with
Minimum Standard 4, Criteria 2.
End paper text.