Dear Friends for Life: The current population of Japan is a little over 127 million, of which approximately 25 million are children under the age of 18. According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a child is defined as anyone under the age of 18. Japan is a major destination, source, and transit country for children subjected to sex trafficking and sexual exploitation.
On the global scene, human trafficking is fueled by a skyrocketing growth in the global sex market. Basic causes range from poverty, gender discrimination and civil unrest to natural disasters and lack of political will to end it. Seventy-nine percent of all global trafficking is for sexual exploitation and one third centers on children. The UN divides this child sexual exploitation into four categories:
1. “Sexual Violence”, according to WHO, covers a wide range of sexually violent acts including rape, sexual abuse, forced prostitution and trafficking for sexual exploitation.
2. “Child Sexual Abuse” is understood as a situation where an adult or older adolescent abuses or attempts to abuse a child for sexual stimulation.
3. “Child Sexual Exploitation” is understood as a situation where a child is used sexually by an adult, and the adult pays for this with money, gifts or favours – such as giving alcohol, food or shelter.
4. “Child Trafficking for the Purposes of Sexual Exploitation” is understood to relate to a situation where a child is moved from one place to another, within a country or across a border, for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
In recent years, Japanese children have become the victims of commercial production, dissemination and sale of child abuse material, namely “child pornography”. Because of new technologies, child abuse material produced in Japan is distributed worldwide and viewed by a global audience. Japan has been singled out as a major producer of sexually exploitative representations of virtual children in comics, cartoons, computer graphics and video and online games that contain depictions extreme child pornography.
Another exploding trend in Japan is “forced pornography”. Here victims, primarily women and girls, are manipulated and forced to have sex on camera. These predators approach girls under 18 years, who are more easily deceived. Once the girls reach legal age, they are forced to sign a contract that obliges them to participate in pornographic shootings or filming, under conditions of deceit or coercion. Once trapped in the pornography business, victims who try to break the contracts are threatened with outrageous compensation claims. The existence of a contract discourages investigations and makes prosecution difficult.
“Revenge porn” and “sextortion” are the latest “dark threats” appearing in Japan. These are associated with new technologies. “Revenge porn” refers mainly to the posting of sexually explicit images of targeted individuals online as a way of harassing and diminishing the victim. In the case of “sextortion”, children who meet people on live “chat” applications are asked to share their naked pictures or videos, then blackmailed into sending more material under the threat of releasing it.
There are other forms of sexual exploitation and the sale of innocent children, for example, the “JK business” and the entertainment industry to mention a few.
It’s really regretable that the demand side of sexual exploitation of children is overlooked and the focus is placed on the child victims and their families. Why? Because “Demand creates Sexual Exploitation of children”. Emphasis should focus on the private sector that makes business out of sex with children. They must be held accountable and prosecuted. It’s the only way to terminate this evil which destroys innocent children and their future.
Pope Francis told executives of leading internet companies recently to use “their great profits” to defend children from sexual exploitation and other dangers lurking online. He spoke out against the spread of pornography, the dangers of so-called “sexting” between young people and between adults and children, and cyber bullying, calling it “a true form of moral and physical attack”. He added “heinous, illicit activities” such as the commissioning and live viewing of rape and violence against minors via the so-called Dark Web had to be stopped.
Galatians 3:28 – “…there are no more distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”
Martin Luther King Jr. – “Our lives begin to end when we become silent about things that matter.”
Jerry Novotny, OMI