Cooperation with JICA

Cooperation with JICA

Event Report

FY2023 Knowledge Co-creation Program "Promotion of Networking among ASEAN Countries on Anti-Trafficking in Persons”

Date:October 18 to November 18, 2023

The National Women’s Education Center (NWEC) offered a seminar titled ”Promotion of Networking among ASEAN Countries on Anti-Trafficking in Persons” from October 18 to November 18, 2023 as a project commissioned by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Eight officials from government ministries, police agencies, and NGOs in charge of anti-trafficking in persons in five ASEAN countries (the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Kingdom of Thailand, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam) participated in the seminar.

 The seminar focused on the policies against trafficking in persons in the five participating countries and Japan, especially measures for prevention and protection. Participants learned about public and private initiatives and countermeasures and exchanged opinions.

 First, through lectures and visits, the seminar participants learned about Japan’s public and private frameworks and initiatives based on the Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons. They presented inception reports on the initiatives for anti-trafficking in persons taken in their respective countries, exchanged opinions on issues and differences, and shared good practices.

 For the action plan presentation on the final day of the seminar, participants presented plans and concrete schedules executable by their job authorities regarding the eradication of trafficking in persons and the protection of victims from the perspective of persons involved.

 Through the seminar, it was reconfirmed that the participating countries are committed to promoting cooperation among the ASEAN countries on anti-trafficking in persons.

1. Program Highlights

Online program before coming to Japan

 On October 18, an online orientation was conducted via Zoom, and participants from each country presented an inception report on their affiliated organizations and job roles, as well as their expectations for this seminar.

In-Japan Program

November 8 (Wed) and 9 (Thu): Japanese Government’s Initiatives Related to Trafficking in Persons

 After a program orientation, participants deepened their understanding about the Japanese government’s initiatives related to trafficking in persons through lectures by officials from the Cabinet Secretariat, the Immigration Services Agency, and the National Police Agency.

 Through a visit to the Cabinet Secretariat, they learned about basic information on trafficking in persons in Japan, as well as the government’s measures against trafficking in persons.

Participant asking questions at the Cabinet Secretariat

Group photo at NWEC

 At the Immigration Services Agency, participants received a presentation on measures against trafficking in persons, including recent case examples of victim support, and toured the facility.

 On the November 9, participants visited NWEC and received a welcome address from the president, followed by a lecture from a National Police Agency official on measures against trafficking in persons. Participants asked questions about specific methods of prosecution, including ways to crack down on online sexual crimes and child pornography. They also asked questions about potential cooperation with companies that operate social network platforms regarding the deletion of photos related to sex crimes and suspension of the accounts of offenders among other topics.

alt Participant asking questions

November 10 (Fri) to November 14 (Tue): Cooperation with International Organizations and Initiatives for Supporting Victims of Trafficking in Persons Taken by Private Sectors

 Lecturers from the International Organization for Migration and a civil society organization gave talks on how to practice victim-centered approaches, comparing case works in the United States and in Japan. During the discussion session, participants and lecturers who work against trafficking in persons shared stories about their motivations to work in the anti- TIP field. They discussed their ongoing passion that keeps them invested in the work, and they empathized with each other’s experiences.

Group photo with the lecturer

Experiencing Japanese culture (tea ceremony) in NWEC

Group photo with the lecturer

Participants listening intensely to a presentation on online sexual exploitation in Japan

 During a stay at NWEC, participants from each country presented a report which covered the current situation of the countermeasures taken against trafficking in persons in their countries. Participants talked passionately and exchanged opinions about the current situation of the measures taken against trafficking in persons in their respective countries.

 From Specified Non-Profit Organization PAPS (Organization for Pornography And Sexual Exploitation Survivors), participants learned about efforts to support victims of online sexual exploitation. While gaining insight into ways to support victims through technology, participants discussed the importance of supporter’s self-care, and shared personal hardships and efforts to combat online sexual exploitation.

 During a visit to the General Incorporated Association Social Inclusion Support Center, participants received a lecture, which included case examples, on hotline operation and accompanying support provided by private-sector organizations.
Participants took interest in the vigorous efforts the organization is making, such as setting up a social media consultation desk and offering multilingual support. They asked various questions covering topics such as counselor training and mental health care for staff workers.

Group photo with the lecturers

Group photo with the lecturers

 A lawyer involved in supporting victims of trafficking in persons gave a lecture on laws relating to trafficking in persons in Japan. The lecture included case examples of online sexual exploitation, and deepened participants' understanding about the legal framework and practical applications to crimes of trafficking in persons. During a tour to the Tokyo Metropolitan Women's Consultation Center, participants received a briefing on the operation of a public temporary shelter.

 Participants also visited a private-sector organization in Chiba Prefecture that offers support services to foreigners, women and children who are victims of domestic violence. They toured a shelter where victims can stay for a medium-to-long term and received a briefing on the organization’s efforts to protect victims. Participants were moved that the organization's founder began their efforts with the hope of supporting both Japanese children and children from other parts of Asia. This contributed to the gradual expansion of the support network. Participants also admired the extensive facilities and thoughtful support services.

November 15 (Wed) to November 16 (Thu): Private Sector Initiatives for Supporting Migrant Foreign Workers

 Facilitated by participants, the group looked back on Japan’s efforts to support victims of trafficking in persons, and compared these efforts with those made by other countries. It was a productive time for them to make meaningful connections between what they learned through the seminar and the efforts being made in their respective countries.

Participants looking back

Group photo with the lecturer

 A lecturer from the Non-Profit Organization Japan Vietnam Tomoiki Association gave a lecture on issues and initiatives surrounding foreign workers and technical intern training program trainees in Japan. Participants asked questions about how the Japanese government is adapting, how the technical training system is being monitored, and what efforts the Organization for Technical Intern Training (OTIT) is making, among other topics. Participants were highly interested in this topic.

Group photo with the lecturer

Group photo with the lecturer

 A lecturer from another NPO, Citizen's Network for Global Activities (CINGA), made a presentation on the intermediary support they provide to connect professionals, such as physicians and lawyers, with foreigners in Japan who need support. Participants working in shelters and on hotlines for victims asked questions about specific points to note and consider when offering mental support to people who consult them for help.

 In order to achieve ethical and responsible acceptance of foreign workers, a lecturer from Japan Platform for Migrant Workers towards Responsible and Inclusive Society (JP-MIRAI) made a presentation on the consultation services that are a joint effort between private-sector organizations (comprised of Japanese businesses and economic groups) and public-sector organizations. The lecturer also discussed implementation of training and study sessions for accepting foreign workers, as well as the operation of platforms that provide information, offer networking support, and so on. Participants asked questions related to their own job duties, such as specific results of collaboration with government ministries and agencies.

November 17 (Fri): Action Plan Presentation and Evaluation Session

 After provision of information from experts, participants presented action plans. In their action plans, they described the knowledge they gained through the seminar and the issues facing their countries. They presented specific plans and implementation schedules that considered their respective job duties. After receiving comments and support messages from the experts, JICA staff, and senior advisor on gender equality in attendance, a closing ceremony was held.

 At the closing ceremony, a certificate of completion was awarded to each participant.

alt Participants posing “stop trafficking in persons” for a photo

2. Comments from Participants

・The program was a wonderful opportunity of learning, and it was a good experience to learn about Japanese systems.
・I would like to propose a similar program regarding labor issues, there is something to be gained from programs like this (Knowledge Co-Creation Program).
・I found useful information in every presentation.
・It was exciting to learn that PAPS has been successful in their efforts to delete online images of sex crimes, and that they are making serious efforts to protect rights of consulters from online sexual exploitation.
・At the Social Welfare Council, we had an opportunity to see how women are effectively supported, and it was very informative.
・All of the training contents were useful, and I learned a lot from each lecture and model.

 NWEC sincerely thanks all the individuals of the related ministries and agencies (the Cabinet Office, the Immigration Services Agency, and the National Police Agency), prefectures (Tokyo), an international organization, private-sector support groups, experts, and networks engaged in support activities, who offered a great deal of cooperation in setting up lectures, facilitating discussions, and visits for carrying out this seminar.

International Cooperation