Cooperation key to war on human trafficking

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A surge in human trafficking has become an urgent global problem that can only be curbed through international cooperation, experts said Friday.

The call came from participants of a two-day international meeting on human trafficking that was held in Tokyo earlier this week.

Speaking at a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Japan, they urged Japan to take effective steps to crack down on the complex problem through better cooperation with various government bodies and nongovernmental organizations. Japan was placed on a “special watch” list in the U.S. State Department’s annual report on human trafficking earlier this month.

One of the speakers, Saisuree Chutikul, a former Cabinet minister of Thailand and a member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, said Japan is a major destination of trafficking victims — mainly women — from Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia.

She urged Tokyo to act on the “three Ps”: prevent trafficking, protect victims and prosecute traffickers or exploiters.

Mu Sochua, Cambodia’s minister for women’s and veterans’ affairs, said her country’s efforts to recover from its war-torn past have been greatly obstructed by the trafficking of its nationals.

She said such crimes not only violate the rights of victims but also destroy “the culture, economy, and the whole nation.”

Speaking at the symposium, former Justice Minister Mayumi Moriyama expressed her dissatisfaction with the U.S. report, which criticized Japan for failing to create a comprehensive law to curb human trafficking. She said the report failed to properly take into account Japan’s past efforts.