Cooperation with JICA

Cooperation with JICA

Event Report

FY2022 Knowledge Co-creation Program "Promotion of Networking among ASEAN Countries on Anti-Trafficking in Persons”

Date:December 2, 2022 to January 31, 2023

 The National Women’s Education Center (NWEC) offered a seminar entitled “Promotion of Networking among ASEAN Countries on Anti-Trafficking in Persons” during the period from December 2, 2022, to January 31, 2023, as a project commissioned by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

 This year again, from the standpoint of preventing the spread of COVID-19, the seminar was held online. Five administrative officials at central and local government agencies and NGO staff mainly in charge of prevention and protection against trafficking in persons in three ASEAN countries (Cambodia, Malaysia, and Vietnam) participated in the seminar.

 This seminar deepened mutual understanding about each country’s efforts to combat trafficking in persons, and in particular, to get a better picture of the roles and frameworks for cooperation among related organizations engaging in prevention and protection of victims. The objective was to have participants discuss measures that would contribute to strengthening the functions of organizations involved in measures against trafficking in persons, and cooperation among them, as well as to strengthening cross-border networking.

 Although the participants joined while engaged in their normal work duties, they received lectures on measures taken by other countries including those of the Japanese government, the current state of cyber trafficking, how support should be provided from the perspective of victims, and efforts to improve the conditions that foreign workers face while working in Japan, among other topics. The participants exchanged opinions on building a relationship of trust with victims, cooperation with related organizations, strengthening the capability of supporters, creating a system that prevents the exhaustion of supporters, etc.

On-demand Learning and Orientation

 On-demand learning started from December 2, with seven videos on initiatives by the Cabinet Secretariat, Tokyo Metropolitan Women’s Consultation Center, International Organization for Migration (IOM), JICA, and the “Japan Platform for Migrant Workers towards Responsible and Inclusive Society (JP-MIRAI).” On January 11, an online live orientation was conducted by connecting participants’ countries from the NWEC conference room via Zoom. Following self-introductions and an introduction on JICA’s initiatives, the participants shared the overall situation of trafficking in persons in their countries as well as the challenges they face in their daily work.

alt      Sharing issues on trafficking in persons in each country through the online worksheet

January 12 (Thu) and 17 (Tue): Hardships Caused by Trafficking in Persons and Countermeasures Shared by Each Country

 Over the two days, participants shared the victims of trafficking in persons and countermeasures in their respective countries using materials prepared in advance by the participants. From Thailand, a peer support group (Live Our Lives, LOL), cooperating with JICA, introduced their activities. Participants shared issues they faced including: gathering highly reliable data and strengthening cooperation with related organizations to provide support for poor and households vulnerable to trafficking in persons; inadequate telephone support provided for victims who speak foreign languages; lack of shelters leads to protected victims repeatedly failing to become financially independent ending in involvement in trafficking in persons; prejudice making trafficked victims unable to rejoin their communities and becoming isolated; the definition of trafficking in persons in their countries deviating from international standards making it difficult to determine whether victims should be protected or handled as illegal immigrants; and law enforcement authorities having insufficient awareness of issues of trafficking in persons limit the number of cases that can be protected; among other issues.

 Presentations from each country on harm from trafficking in persons and countermeasures

January 12 (Thu), 17 (Tue), and 18 (Wed): Case Reports from Japan and Exercise

 Reports from Japan included an overview of public support such as victim protection by the Tokyo Metropolitan Women’s Consultation Center and IOM in addition to case studies in the US of support for victims of trafficking in persons of Thai nationality and examples of training of trainers (TOT) by JICA in a victim-centered approach in Myanmar to support victims of trafficking in persons and cases of harm from cyber trafficking of persons. The importance of education about the increasing harm from cyber trafficking and continuing dialogue to create relationships of trust, strengthening the capability of supporters to provide support from the perspective of victims, building a relationship of trust with victims, and self-care as fundamental to high-quality support to prevent exhaustion on the part of supporters were shared.

 Given the issues of Japan’s immigration control system for foreign workers, the JP-MIRAI platform was introduced. Questions from the participants about JP-MIRAI’s collaboration with the private sector led to sharing how the companies’ responsibility to protect the working environment of foreign workers, including technical intern trainees, as human rights are attracting attention.

 In a group exercise, participants confirmed what they had learned through the lectures and exchange of opinions.

alt           Participants exchanging opinions using the online worksheet

January 31 (Tue): Final Presentations and Evaluation Session

 As the final presentation, action plans by participants were presented including how to apply the learning from this seminar to their future work. In their presentations, adding awareness and education on harm from trafficking in persons and countermeasures to existing training and awareness-raising activities, utilizing external funds, human resources, know-how, and networks by strengthening cooperation with other ministries and NGOs, and the aspiration to continue dialogue from the standpoint of victims and place importance on building trust were shared.
 As trafficking in persons is a serious crime committed across borders, the participants expressed their desire to further strengthen their networks in the future. To make steps toward the realization of this goal, a social media group page was established to maintain the network among the participants. In addition, the outcomes of this seminar will be used in a workshop co-sponsored by JICA and the Thai government on countermeasures against trafficking in persons in the Mekong region as well as in projects on trafficking in persons JICA is developing in the ASEAN region.


 Lastly, we sincerely thank all individuals who offered a great deal of cooperation in carrying out this online seminar.

International Cooperation