It took a desperate Facebook plea for help to get seven Cambodian women rescued from sex slavery in Japan.
The victims, who are all in their 20s, were allegedly lured to work with a high-paying job at a restaurant on Honshu island but were forced into sex work instead, reported Agence France-Presse. According to a statement released by the Cambodian foreign ministry, it was the Japanese owner who even arranged visas and airfare for the women.
“But (he) threatened and forced the victims to have sex with guests at the restaurant and did not pay them salaries,” said the statement.
One of the victims was able to draw attention to their plight after writing a plea on the Cambodian Embassy’s Facebook page. Local authorities in Gunma prefecture were immediately alerted. The successful rescue, conducted in mid-December, led to the freedom of all the sex slaves.
Six of the rescued victims are currently awaiting their scheduled repatriation on Thursday at the Cambodian embassy in Tokyo. The other one was earlier sent home due to her health condition.
It was not reported if an arrest has been made or if charges have been filed against the Japanese restaurant owner.
Japan has remained to be a “destination, source and transit” country for human trafficking according to Washington’s annual report.
“Traffickers strictly control the movement of victims using debt bondage, threats of violence or deportation, blackmail, passport retention, and other coercive psychological methods,” stated the 2016 Trafficking in Persons report from the US State Department.