Dating A Japanese Woman: I adore his writing style. I first came to Japan inand started studying Japanese shortly thereafter. I moved here permanently inat which point I gave up eating cheeseburgers, wearing wrinkled t-shirts, and speaking English. This has had some mixed results, but at least my wardrobe looks fantastic and my cholesterol level is nice and low. I spend a tremendous amount of time asking Japanese people, in Japanese, what they think about Japan, love, sex, foreigners, language, and everything else under the sun.
This seems to elicit very different results than speaking in English. What I see often seems unlike the Japan depicted in books and on the net, and sometimes I wonder, What country are these people talking about? Because actually no matter what you say or do, a certain number of them will pretend to like you. Like so many interactions in Japan, things often start off promising, only to become vastly more complicated before hot dog hits bun, so to speak.
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First of all, understand that very few Japanese women are interested in dating men of other races. Overcoming the racial stereotypes and just being treated as a normal person is a big barrier.
Then, consider what most women want in a partner: Driving a sweet Mercedes through the middle of Shibuya. Oh, you ride a basket bike? Chicks dig a guy with the ability to smuggle ET to safety. A job with a future? Or are you just going to peace out back to Canada and live with your mom after a couple of years? How will you raise a family? Can you even read? What woman would settle for an illiterate man with no money and little social standing? A woman with few other options, apparently.
If you get married, or have kids, you can pretty much kiss your ass goodbye. Case in point, I ran in my buddy Tim-Bob the other day, having beers in a gaijin bar. I call him Tim-Bob, because the first time we met, I thought his name was Tim, and the second time I thought his name was Robert. Hey, is it my fault Tim-Bob slurs terribly? Must be all that beer. Anyway, Tim-Bob was halfway into his fourth drink and onto a familiar lamentation about his Japanese wife. Ken Seeroi, master of putting a positive spin on things since Well obviously that sucks, so it makes more sense for her to stay at home and take care of the house and kids.
That means you can forget about breezing home at five, ordering an extra-large pizza, putting your feet up, and watching TV. What is this, the Philippines? No, you either have to stay at the office until midnight, or come home and get busy.
The entire society functions in this way. Imada-san holds down two jobs. And traffickers target troubled girls with low self-esteem -- girls like Alyssa Beck. She would be in and out of their trap for almost five years. CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller has been following Beck's story and the horrific world of sex trafficking of kids.
It could happen to anyone — that's why actor and activist Ashton Kutcher has taken on this cause to save other young victims. I was searching for something. But I always got good grades. Something better than living like this. Heather Beck Alyssa's mom: The first couple of times Alyssa ran away, you know, we would get in the car, we would drive around. Is she in the dumpster or is she in that trash bag on the side of the road and will I ever see her again?
I didn't know the streets, so I didn't know the bad things that came with it. I just thought that it would be fun, you know, maybe party, maybe drink. I would describe Alyssa when I first met her as afraid. My every day life was laying there, naked, beaten and allowing guys to come and pay 10, 20 dollars to do whatever they wanted to me.
She was being forced to do it. We are talking about buying and selling children for sex acts. Shannon Schott Juvenile justice expert and lawyer: It never crossed my mind in my wildest dreams that my child was involved in human trafficking.
Our first witness today is Mr. Ashton Kutcher[ to Congress]: As part of my anti-trafficking work, I've met victims in Russia, in India, victims in New York and New Jersey and all across our country.
I have a hard time talking about this issue without being emotional. I was just so appalled … If you don't do something about it, then who are you? It can happen to anyone … Traffickers prey on people and they know exactly what's gonna turn their trigger. These traffickers made me feel like I was loved. You know I was running from something … and I was running to love and acceptance. She believed these men until they were actively hurting her. I didn't want to die.
You know I saw some light at the end of the tunnel. And I just knew, like I had to get out of the situation. I had to live through this. Whenever I'm over on this side of town, I kinda feel chills in my body. This past year alone, in just four days, the FBI recovered 84 children and arrested alleged sex traffickers.
Special Agent Courtney Harrison: I mean they're predators. They find a vulnerability and they jump on it. Florida is a hot spot and Harrison sees the work of sex traffickers every day.
They're very greedy, self-indulgent. They brag about, 'Look at the money," look at, ya know, "I'm enslaving these girls" is a quote that we got from one of our pimps.
And she says they target troubled girls just like Alyssa. Alyssa grew up in a middle class family, the third of four children.
She was a good student, but in her early teens, she started breaking her parents' rules by hanging out with boys and staying out late. Part of it was me being a rebellious teenager. And honestly really just being a child. But also because my father and mother, they, you know, they had problems of their own. My father did used to drink and that just caused a lot of problems with the whole family. Her life was not what she wanted.
Shannon Schott is a juvenile justice expert and Alyssa's lawyer. She was seeing a family situation between her mother and her father, her father who was drinking and was verbally abusive and just a very hard person to live with.
Things came to a head in March of when Alyssa was 13 years old. She and her older sister were caught sneaking a boy into their room late at night.
I mean we were just hanging out. It was very innocent. But she says her father became enraged. As punishment, he hit them with a belt. Police were called and social services investigated the incident.
In the report, Alyssa's father admitted that he "spanked the girls," but he did "not beat them. We were very young parents. I think we were just doing what we thought was the best that we could. In the end, the investigation concluded there were "no indicators of family violence.
So now I just have to leave the house. At first, Alyssa ran away for just days at a time, mostly staying with friends. Gradually she stayed away longer. This went on for nearly a year. Alyssa's mom, Heather Beck Heather Beck: It was emotionally torturous. Alyssa just was looking for something better. The grass is always greener. Alyssa started experimenting with drinking and drugs. Then, when she was 14, she got caught giving a police officer a false name -- a criminal offense.
I gave them a false name because I didn't want to get caught, ya know? And I would just -- I didn't want to go home. When notified by police, Heather says she was desperate and went along with the recommendation to have her daughter arrested.
I was told that since Alyssa was a continual runaway … if I had her arrested for providing a false name, she would be able to receive additional services.
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Alyssa was sent to a juvenile treatment facility and received counseling for substance abuse. At the time, Heather was confident that this would be a good choice. Was it a mistake? Heather, like many parents, had no idea sex traffickers often prey on troubled children at these facilities. The juvenile justice system's intention is to rehabilitate your kids … But if you have a child who needs counseling, and who needs help because they've been through some serious trauma, they're going to probably find worse friends.
And sure enough, one month into her stay, Alyssa met a year-old girl who would change her life.
I mean, this girl she was just powerful. You know I wanted to have a voice and stand out. So I remember one day … she was just talking about these places to go and how much fun she used to have outside of this rehab setting. And … she then asked me and another girl if we wanted to run away. And without thinking I was just like, "Yeah, let's do it. I remember… going to that area and just having this weird feeling, ya know.
It was so -- it was dark, and … it was intimidating, scary, cold and different. And it was here that Alyssa quickly learned that the older girl was not who she thought she was. She told us, "Hey I'm a prostitute. The girl was like, "Either you're gonna work for us or you're gonna leave. Fearing she would be arrested for fleeing the juvenile rehab facility, Alyssa says she was too scared to leave, too scared to go home, and too scared to ask for help.
I still can't go home. I don't want to go to jail, or I don't want to get arrested. So I decided to stay. Alyssa didn't know it yet, but she had walked right into a trap. At 15 years old, I never even heard of sex trafficking. But the trap was already set. The young woman Alyssa had run away with introduced her to a series of men. They let her stay with them in seedy motels and apartments.
Alyssa didn't know it, but she was being groomed by traffickers. I thought these guys were my boyfriends. Everything that was missing in my life they supplied to me. It's easy to get tricked. And that's what traffickers are masters at. Lawanda Ravoira works with girls who have been trafficked.
It's tricking girls into believing that they are their friend, that they care about them. And particularly, when there's trouble at home, you're now in a space that feels safe. After living on the streets for about two weeks, Alyssa was introduced to Ian Sean Gordon, a year-old unemployed father of two. I thought that Sean was a good guy. But Prosecutor Mac Heavener says Gordon had a criminal record.
To him, she's just an income flow. He saw Alyssa as a commodity. The moment he saw Alyssa and saw what she needed … he said, "I'm gonna make a lot of money off of this girl. I remember him just really brutally beating me and raping me. I was staring at him 'cause I was so scared, I thought he was gonna keep beating me.
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And he ended up coming and shoving a pillow over my face and he was like, "Don't look at me, you can't look at me. You can't look at me. And I heard him start call to people and telling them, "Hey, I have this girl here, you can come do whatever you want to her, just for 20 dollars.
I remember trying to fight back. I … tried kicking him, and that only made it worse. It made it really bad then. Sorry, I feel sick … Mac Heavener: It's not uncommon for sex traffickers to use violence to compel their victims to do things.
Ian Sean Gordon … would hit her repeatedly. To basically prevent her from running away and escaping.
Ian Sean Gordon Leon County Sheriff's Office Alyssa says Gordon also tied her to the bed, and besides the daily beatings, he threatened to harm her family.
He had her convinced that he had been staking her out and knew all about her, knew all about her family and that things would happen to her family if she didn't comply with what he said. It's a form of terror? Yeah, it very much was. He mentally frightened me into believing that if I try to run, I was gonna go to jail, I was gonna die, or he was gonna kill my family. I was just living in so much fear that I didn't even think escaping was an option.
In addition to controlling her with fear, Gordon also fed Alyssa drugs. It's a trick that Heavener says traffickers often use. They know that pain and the addiction can force their victims into providing more services in order to get their fix.
I do remember just men just coming in. At one point, I was laying on the bed completely naked, cause that is how I always stayed. And opening my eyes and just seeing a blur of a man on top of me and just saying, "No, no get off of me.
And just being so high and trying to remove myself from my own body. So that I wouldn't feel the pain and the hands of these dirty men and what they were doing to me. It was at the Regency Inn Motel, and many others like it, where authorities believe that over a course of two weeks, Alyssa was raped by dozens of men.
Men that could be anyone's father, anyone's uncle, anyone's cousin -- brother. And Alyssa says she was even bought by a pastor. And if ever thought there was a God, at that point, I completely -- I just completely lost faith in anything that I ever thought was real.
But in her darkest days, there was one person who kept her going. Alyssa Beck [breaks down]: I remember one time I was there and it was after a really bad beating and rape. And I remember sitting there and thinking about my little brother.
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And I just remember thinking about my brother's smile. And just thinking about his innocence. And after about two weeks of being held captive, Alyssa says she somehow summoned the strength to escape. When Gordon wasn't around, she bolted, barely dressed. But she didn't get far. Next thing you know this thing comes behind me and grabs me by my hair and this thing was Sean. He came and grabbed me, he started dragging me and I started screaming to the top of my lungs … I remember him looking at me and just telling me, "You're gonna die today.
Like that fear was holding me down. Like I was restrained to like a metal black chair. Gordon threw her into his car, and when the car was stopped she attempted to escape … once more. I took my seatbelt off and I ran down this expressway beaten, bloody … At that point, I think I passed out. But that really only started the journey. Not knowing where to go, Alyssa made her way back to the Regency Inn and called her mother for help.