Japan has long drawn criticism from global watchdogs for failing to curb human trafficking, perhaps most conspicuously when it comes to foreign women brought in to work in the sex trade.

But the victims also include exploited trainees from abroad who participate in a seemingly official program, a human rights group charges.

The Japan Network Against Trafficking in Persons said at a symposium it organized Saturday at Meiji University in Tokyo that the government-sponsored foreign trainee program must be dismantled now.