Migrant women workers from the Philippines are located around the world and represent one of the largest labor migrant groups in the world today. They are concentrated in three occupations: domestic services, nursing, and entertainment. "Entertainment" work refers to jobs in the nightlife industry, where women work as performers-singers and dancers-as well as hostesses. As this study will show, contrary to common assumptions, most Filipino women engaged in this kind of entertainment work are not employed as prostitutes. Of the three occupations most commonly held by migrant Filipino women, entertainers are the least studied group, perhaps because migration scholars have been deterred by the common assumption of their inaccessibility as persons purportedly enslaved by organized crime groups. The 2004 and 2005 US. Trafficking in Persons Reports (TIP Reports) released by the U.S. Department of State identified Filipino migrant entertainers in Japan as trafficked persons forced into prostitution. In response to the 2004 TIP Report, Japan tightened its borders, raised the professional standards of foreign entertainers, and prohibited the reentry of Filipino entertainers without two years of training in the performance arts outside of Japan. As a result, many Filipino entertainers found themselves ineligible to reenter Japan, and the numbers of those entering Japan annually have declined drastically, from nearly 80,000 in 2004 to approximately 8,000 in 2005.
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