Recap of Lighthouse Guest Speakers Evening
On Wednesday, March 23rd, as the lights faded from classrooms and many headed home, a small group of YIS students stayed behind in the school's loft. They were joined by teachers, parents, and students from other international schools, to attend an extraordinary event. The Lighthouse Speaker Evening was led by two dedicated advocates for reform in Japan's human trafficking laws: Ms Shihoko Fujiwara and Ms Aiki Segawa. Ms Fujiwara is the founder of the Non-Profit Organisation Lighthouse, that works to combat human trafficking in Japan. Ms Segawa is the manager for public relations and advocacy.
The speakers delivered a powerful presentation that outlined the key issues that Japan currently faces. These include its noncommittal stance on sex-trafficking, through non-ratification of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols*, young people being forced to participate in pornography, and the commodification of children's sex.
*186 other countries and territories have ratified the convention.
It was an honour to hear Ms Fujiwara and Ms Segawa, who spoke passionately about the issues, the actions that Lighthouse is taking, and the goals and hopes for the future. The evening brought together a diverse community of YIS and other international school students, parents, and teachers. The discussions afterwards provided a lot to contemplate, and some of the outcomes of the evening may include not only our continued support of Lighthouse, but also a sustained commitment to raise awareness in the international and national school communities in Japan.
A note on fundraising – and a Thank You
This speaker evening was made possible not only by the dedicated work of the YIS students' Combatting Human Trafficking group, but also by the generosity of the Parent Teacher Student Association, who gave a grant for the event. A big thank you to the PTSA for their support.
This evening, in addition to the High School "LiveAid" concert, raised over 40,000 yen. Many thanks to all who generously donated funds, as well as buying the Lighthouse Blue Heart manga copies. All donations will be used by Lighthouse to campaign for legislation change, and to support the victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Japan.
Thoughts and reactions
Lighthouse speakers Ms Shihoko Fujiwara and Ms Aiki Segawa:
"It was such a great honor for us to speak about the issue of human trafficking in Japan to all the participants. It was also our greatest joy to see you all. We are always deeply touched and empowered by the positive energy, the strong will, and the kindness of each of the members of the Combatting Human Trafficking (CHT) Group. We were also very happy to see that students from other International Schools were there too. Thank you so much for spreading the awareness! Thank you very much [also] to those of you who prepared for and helped out on the day of the event as well as those who could not be there but were wishing for the success of the event. We are always impressed by the teamwork of your group. Each and every single one of you are playing your role in the group which is greatly supporting our cause.We'd like to express our deepest appreciation on behalf of the Lighthouse staff."
"I think that this event was a unique experience. One of the most interesting parts of this event was discussing the issues surrounding human trafficking in Japan. It was interesting to hear other YIS community member's thoughts on the causes and solutions for this major issue."
"The most shocking thing for me that I found out during the evening is that people are being recruited through multinational means of social media such as Twitter and Line. This came as a shock to me as I thought there would be some framework in place in order to prevent the incidence of organised crime."
"It was an incredible opportunity that I was able to sit at a table with students from other schools in Japan and that we were able to share our ideas on the topic of Human Trafficking."
"It is astounding to know that Japan is the only developed country in the world that has not ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols."
"I think one of the most surprising things at the speaker event was the amount of people who attended it. Many students from other schools and staff from YIS came to the speaker event to support our group and the issue overall, which was very inspiring and made me realize the importance of this issue in Japan."
"One of my favourite things about this event was that we had students from schools like ASIJ or K International School attend such as event for similar reasons to why we decided to join: to learn about human trafficking in Japan and try to combat it. We got to share many ideas and know what they do, and even got to talk about collaborating in the future, which would allow for greater attention towards this cause throughout the Kanto Plains."