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I. Summary
II. Key Recommendations
III. Context
IV. Profiles
V. International Legal Standards On Trafficking In Women
VI. Recruited In Thailand--Sold On Japan
VII. Servitude In The "Snack Bars"
VIII. Deportation As "Illegal Aliens"
IX. Response Of The Japanese Government
X. Response Of The Thai Government
XI. International Response
XII. Recommendations
  • To the Japanese Government
  • To the Thai Government
  • To the Japanese and Thai Governments
  • To All Governments
  • To Intergovernmental Organizations
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
International Organization For Migration (IOM)
International Labor Organization (ILO)
World Health Organization (WHO)
Human Rights Watch OWED JUSTICE
Thai Women Trafficked into Debt Bondage in Japan

Human Rights Watch
New York Washington London Brussels
Copyright September 2000 by Human Rights Watch.
All rights reserved.
Printed in the Unted States of America.
ISBN 1-56432-252-1
Library of Congress Card Number: 00-107963

This report was written by Kinsey Dinan, researcher with the Women's Rights and Asia Divisions of Human Rights Watch, based on research conducted by Therese Caouette, Kinsey Dinan, Yuriko Saito, Piyana Sophanasiri, and Naiyana Supapong. It was edited by Regan E. Ralph, executive director of the Women's Rights Division; Joseph Saunders, deputy director of the Asia Division; and Malcolm Smart, program director of Human Rights Watch. Additional research and editorial input provided by Sidney Jones, Sarah Lai, and Dorothy Q. Thomas. Wilder Taylor, legal and policy director for Human Rights Watch, provided legal review. Production assistance was provided by Tejal Jesrani and Laura Rusu, associates with the Women's Rights Division.

This report would not have been possible without the assistance of a number of individuals and organizations in Japan and Thailand who provided us with essential information and support. In particular, we would like to thank the staff of Mizura, Karabow, HELP Asian Women's Shelter, the Immigration Review Task Force, the Japan Civil Liberties Union, the Kyoto YWCA, and the Minatomachi Medical Clinic in Japan; and the staff of FACE: Coalition to Fight Against Child Exploitation, and the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women in Thailand. We would also like to thank the many individuals including several Japanese and Thai government officials whose cooperation was critical to our research.Finally, we would like to express our deep gratitude to the many other women and men who made invaluable contributions to this report, but whose names have been withheld because of concerns about security and/or confidentiality. These include the many courageous Thai women who shared with us their experiences in Japan and back home. It is hoped that through their testimonies, other women, governments and the international community will have more information securing opportunities for safe interventions and redress in the future. 

The Women's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Sandler Family Supporting Fund, the Moriah Fund, and the Shaler Adams Foundation.