United States: Monument to WWII Trafficking Survivors Unveiled in Glendale, California
Thursday, August 1, 2013 2:15 PM

The United States city of Glendale, California, unveiled a statue on July 30, 2013, honoring women trafficked into sexual slavery by Japan during World War II. Research suggests that up to 200,000 women, many Korean, were deceived, kidnapped and purchased by the Japanese government to be kept as “comfort women” for the Japanese military from the years 1932 to 1945. Many of these women alive today demand and are still waiting for an apology from the Japanese government. Every Wednesday, survivors and supporters gather to demonstrate outside of the Japanese embassy in Seoul. As of now, these women have largely been left out of history books and lessons, especially in Japan. With the population of survivors diminishing, there are few left to tell their story. Thus, an increased effort has emerged to ensure the education of future generations. The Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation launched a “Taiwanese Comfort Women” museum exhibit early this July in Tokyo. The House of Sharing, a retirement home in Korea for victims of human trafficking in Japan, also offers access to information and monuments commemorating the victims.

The monument constructed in Glendale was met with strong opposition from Japanese nationalists. The statue depicts a girl, sitting with her fists clenched and feet bare, and an empty chair to her right, identical to the monument outside of the Japanese embassy in Seoul.