Cablegate: Advocating for Tip Victim Identification
PP RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHJO RUEHKW RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD
DE RUEHKO #4953/01 2962221
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 232221Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8863
INFO RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNCLC/CHILD LABOR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXI/LABOR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNCRI/VIENNA CRIME COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA PRIORITY 3930
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA PRIORITY 2799
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA PRIORITY 6340
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE PRIORITY 7595
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO PRIORITY 4627
RUEAWJA/JUSTICE DEPT WASHDC PRIORITY
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 TOKYO 004953
FOR G/TIP, EAP/J, L/LEI, EAP/RSP
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM KCRM KWMN JA
SUBJECT: ADVOCATING FOR TIP VICTIM IDENTIFICATION
PROCEDURES IN JAPAN
REF: A. HANSEN + G/TIP + EAP/J + EAP/RSP + L/LEI EMAIL
B. TOKYO 3186
C. TOKYO 3955
D. TOKYO 3817
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1. Embassy Tokyo Political Officer met October 18 with MOFA
International Organized Crime Division TIP Officer Hiroko
Sasahara to discuss formal procedures for identifying victims
of human trafficking. In proposing steps that Japan could
take in this regard, Embassy Political Officer delivered Ref
A's "Clarification of Action 3" (full text in paragraph 3) to
clarify the third 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. Sasahara also expressed gratitude for Ref C's
"Clarification of Action 1," noting that the Ministry of
Health, Labor, and Welfare has begun meeting with NGOs to
determine how to respond to our concerns about the
government's reliance on prefecture-level "Women's Consulting
Centers" to shelter victims of human trafficking. Japan will
brief the United States on what other actions it intends to
take in response to the roadmap once it has received the rest
of the answers to Ref D's "Questions about the Roadmap," she
3. Begin paper text:
Clarification of Action 3, Tier 1 Roadmap
Because victims of human trafficking rarely self-identify,
law enforcement officials on the "front-line" of contact with
potential victims must be trained in proactive victim
identification procedures. To prevent victims from being
penalized as illegal immigrants (including detention and
deportation), and to comply with Minimum Standard 4, Criteria
2 of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, as
amended, the government of Japan should adopt standard
procedures for identifying victims of trafficking in persons.
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. Effective victim identification procedures are necessary
for compliance with Minimum Standard 4, Criteria 2.
We have heard reports of women otherwise classifiable as
victims of human trafficking being deported as violators of
immigration law by Japanese authorities. Without formal
victim identification procedures, Japan cannot guarantee that
victims of human trafficking are not being deported as
criminals. Ensuring that victims are not improperly fined,
incarcerated, or deported as criminals is necessary to comply
with Minimum Standard 4, Criteria 2.
Note: These reports come from credible sources. As stated in
the Trafficking in Persons Report, the Department of State
assesses each country's trafficking situation and
governmental action based on thorough research, including
meetings with a wide variety of government officials, local
and international NGO representatives, international
organization officials, journalists, academics, and
survivors. It is Department policy to protect the
confidentiality of these meetings.
B. Victims rarely self-identify
Trafficking victims have many legitimate reasons why they may
be reluctant to discuss the details of their trafficking
experience, especially during initial interviews. Victims
may be afraid of reprisals against themselves or their
family. In other cases, victims might feel loyalty to their
trafficker. Even if victims have personal relationships with
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their traffickers, this should not lead to a presumption that
the person is not a victim or was acting voluntarily. In
addition, trafficking victims often have often had their
trust in people severely violated during the course of being
trafficked. Because of this, they may be very distrustful of
others and suspicious of the interviewer's motives,
especially when the interviewer is a police officer. Victims
often come from societies with corrupt authorities. Because
of their distrust of police in their home countries,
trafficking survivors usually fear law enforcement agents in
the country where they are being exploited as well. Victims
are also lied to by traffickers about police brutality and
deportation, causing them to believe that authorities will
treat them as criminals, incarcerate them, or deport them.
Some victims may also suffer from memory loss. Due to trauma
or other causes (drug or alcohol use, for example) victims
may not be able to remember all of the details of what
happened to them.
Shame is also a factor in preventing victims from
self-identifying. Females from some cultures may be
reluctant to seek assistance in these cases because of the
shame and stigmatization that might come from disclosing
sexual abuse or violence. Males from some cultures,
particularly those with a very rigid concept of masculinity,
may not want to admit their victimization or fear because
they believe they will risk diminishing their masculine
C. Law enforcement officials must be specifically trained to
recognize victims of human trafficking.
The dominant mission of law enforcement agents in any country
is to ensure public safety by identifying criminal activity
and arresting criminals. Accordingly, a police officer's
priority when interviewing potential victims is to build a
criminal case. This priority leads police to ask questions
that may not be appropriate for the proper identification of
a victim of trafficking in persons. Without specific
procedures for identifying victims of trafficking in persons,
police and immigration officers are less likely to recognize
the signs that a person has been trafficked. Prior to
establishing victim identification procedures in the United
States, police trained to arrest women for violating
anti-prostitution laws found it difficult to differentiate
between trafficking victims and prostitution-law violators.
Immigration officers trained to determine whether someone was
in the United States legally regarded victims of trafficking
as illegal immigrants, undocumented workers, or prostitutes.
When law enforcement focuses solely on criminal identities,
innocent victims are incarcerated and deported
Police and immigration officers, especially those who have
frequent contact with sex workers or laborers, must be
trained in a formal questioning strategy to elicit
information about captivity, forced work, coerced sexual
acts, and abuse by perpetrators. Although the NPA organizes
conferences in Tokyo for police that include information
about victim identification, these measures are not an
adequate substitute for including formal trafficking victim
identification procedures in police and immigration officer
training curricula. Proper screening begins with an
assessment of indicators that can be evaluated before
interviewing an individual. The following indicators can flag
-- The age of the potential victim;
-- The nature of the victim's job (Hostess Bar, "Delivery
-- Evidence of being controlled;
-- Bruises or other signs of physical abuse;
-- Fear or depression;
-- The potential victim not speaking for herself or not
speaking local language; or
-- No passport or other forms of identification or
If one or more of these indicators is present, the
interviewer should pursue questions that will help identify
the key elements of a trafficking scenario:
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-- What type of work do you do?
-- How did you learn about this job? How did you apply?
-- Did you pay your recruiter? Who paid for your travel
-- How did you enter Japan?
-- Has your identification or documentation been taken from
-- Where is your passport?
-- Are you doing the job you expected to do?
-- How soon after arriving in Japan did you start working?
-- Are you being paid? How much? Did you get to keep the
-- Did you have to repay a debt?
-- Can you leave your job if you want to?
-- Can you come and go as you please?
-- Have you or your family been threatened?
-- What are your working and living conditions like?
-- Where do you sleep and eat?
-- Do you have to ask permission to eat/sleep/go to the
-- Are there locks on your doors/windows so you cannot get
D. Early victim identification is vital to effective
investigation and prosecution.
Actions taken at the beginning of a trafficking investigation
are critical. An international survey of trafficking cases
brought to court shows that the early identification of
victims and the subsequent responses of investigators
determine the speed, ease, and success of prosecuting
traffickers. Ultimately, the most successful results involve
first-response agents with formal training in victim
identification procedures. Such investigators show more
sensitivity to the needs of the victims, know how best to
handle them, and are aware of superior sources of information
to corroborate evidence. The fact that local police have
been instructed to contact the National Police Agency's
Consumer and Environmental Protection Division to report a
suspected case of trafficking is an important initial step.
We hope the Japanese government will continue to promote this
valuable procedure in addition to adopting victim
E. U.S. Procedures
For your reference, we have attached the International
Organization for Migration's "Screening Interview Form,"
which provides an excellent example of victim identification
procedures. We have also attached an unofficial translation
of the guidelines for victim identification used by U.S. law
enforcement personnel, NGOs, and the general public.
End paper text.