Vol.1 The Reason Why We Hold NFSJ Cafes

On July 2, NFSJ celebrated 11 years of activities. We are a group of ordinary, non-professional citizens, who have been working under the motto of “Do what you can when you can,” with a “No!” to human trafficking. The “NFSJ Café” was born from this background.

When I joined NFSJ, I had no experience or knowledge of the issue of human trafficking (HT) and modern-day slavery. The first two or three NFSJ Cafés were voluntary study sessions for us, but soon we decided to make them public events so that we could learn together with others. We thought, “what we want to know, others would want to know too”.

The name “café” rather than “study group” has a meaning. HT is a serious issue. Many people in the world lose their lives due to this crime. Even if their lives are spared, many victims are forced to live with trauma, having suffered great physical and psychological wounds in addition to being exploited.

Nevertheless, we wanted to call this group by the light-hearted name of “café” because we want people to feel free to join us. We want people to ask questions like, “What is trafficking in persons?” We welcome those who come with the motive of “I don’t know anything about it, but I am interested in it.”

In Japan, HT is still not well known. We believe that one of the solutions to this is to lower the barriers as much as possible and increase the number of people who know about this issue.

We also hope that people will become aware of the fact that HT is common and happening in our daily lives, similar to enjoying a cup of tea at a café.

The NFSJ Café has been held 28 times in total as of May 2022. Some of the topics we have covered may not seem to be related to HT at first glance. However, HT is intricately intertwined with various issues in society, including climate change, war, refugees and immigrants, domestic violence and neglect, economic disparity, racism, and sexism. We believe that by learning about these issues, we can better understand the problem of HT and aim for solutions.

July 30 is the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons designated by the United Nations. We would like to take this opportunity to send you reports of various themes over the next month, looking back on the times that have left a lasting impression on the NFSJ staff. We sincerely hope that everyone who reads these reports will participate in future NFSJ Cafés.

July 30, 2022
Nozomi Kuriyama (NFSJ Assistant Director)