Call on the Japanese Government to Recognize "Comfort Women"

CATW International April 14, 2015 United States

Photo Credit: Chang-Jin Lee


CATW is organizing a screening of "Comfort Women Wanted", a documentary by visual artist Chang-Jin Lee. To learn more, click here. 


For Immediate Release


International Anti-Trafficking Organization Calls on the Japanese Government to Recognize its Role in Wartime Human Trafficking of “Comfort Women”



New York, February 6, 2015 - The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) has joined forces with a number of grassroots advocacy organizations to urge Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Government to cease their efforts to erase the history of “Comfort Women,” the euphemism for women trafficking by the Japanese military during World War II. 


Historical documents clearly show that before and during WWII, Japan’s Imperial Army instituted a system of brothels in its war zones, known as “comfort stations.” Women and girls as young as 13 years old were enticed, kidnapped, or coerced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military and its designated agents. However, Prime Minister Abe and his party are now aggressively campaigning in Japan and around the world to whitewash the history of “comfort women” and the Imperial Army’s role in what is deemed one of the most extensive state-sanctioned human trafficking cases. 


In a petition published this week on Change.org, the online petition platform, we call on the public to urge the Japanese Prime Minister to:


  • “Immediately end any efforts to revise, remove, or request the removal of, references to the history of the “comfort women” in Japanese and foreign textbooks, newspapers, historical records, and official United Nations documents. 
  • “Officially affirm that Japan’s Imperial Army was engaged in systematic human trafficking for the sexual enslavement of women and girls in WWII military “comfort stations” and call for prosecution of the perpetrators. 
  • “Affirmatively and unequivocally apologize to the survivors and the bereaved families and accept historical responsibility for this institutionalized sexual slavery.”

“While Japan claims that acknowledging its role in wartime sex trafficking would diminish its honor and national pride, the Japanese government must take the opposite position,” says Taina Bien-Aimé, CATW’s Executive Director. “The honor of governments is based on truth, reconciliation and justice, not denial of history We must never forget “comfort women” and the human rights violations perpetuated against them.”


Fewer than fifty “comfort women,” mostly from Korea, are alive today. Well into their eighties and nineties, they continue to fight for an official apology from the Japanese government. The change.org petition is designed to support these women’s fight to secure justice and their place in history. 


The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) is a non-government organization working to end human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of women and girls worldwide. CATW engages in advocacy, education, victim services and prevention programs for victims of trafficking and prostitution in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and North America. www.catwinternational.org

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