Creative Consulting & Development Works

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Red Card needs the help of all community activists

3 November 2010
Two people from the Red Card Campaign discuss their strategy. Photo: Nondumiso Ntsengentsu

Mzamo Sidelo and Leo Mbobi from the Red Card Campaign discuss their strategy. Photo: Nondumiso Ntsengentsu

A while ago, Creative Consulting & Development Works blogged about the Red Card initiative, that was run during the 2010 Soccer World Cup, to create awareness about risky sexual behaviour, human trafficking, forced labour and sexual slavery. We are excited to see that this initiative has now extended beyond the World Cup, with organisations coming together to further this goal.

Development Works attended the partner organisations workshop on the Red Card Campaign Against Child Sexual Exploitation, facilitated by Sonke Gender Justice Network on 22 October at the Gugulethu library. Sonke made it clear that they want all organisations dealing with issues related to the Red Card campaign to take an active part in it. The campaign does not belong only to Sonke. It is only through a combined effort that they will really make a difference.

The aim of the workshop was to inform other organisations about the Red Card campaign so as to make the collaboration possible. The symbol of a red card was taken from the game of soccer, where it is given to a player that has made a dangerous tackle or has been offensive or abusive in some way. After being shown a red card, the player needs to leave the field. In the same way, the Red Card campaign wants to get rid of risky sexual behaviour and sexual exploitation.

Young girls are in danger of being exploited by older wealthy men. Photo: borderlys on Flickr

Young girls are in danger of being exploited by older wealthy men. Photo: borderlys on Flickr

According to Leo Mbobi from Sonke Gender Justice young girls get involved with much older men, because these so-called “sugar daddies” offer them money and gifts. But this is in fact an exploitative relationship. As these men often have more than one partner, it also increases the risk of HIV.

Not only do the attitudes and behaviour of these girls need to change, but according to Mbobi they also want to influence men to stand up against this practice. It should not be socially acceptable.

Mzamo Sidelo said they also have to look at the parents’ perceptions. They have found that parents are intimidated by the wealth of the “sugar daddies”.  Poverty plays a big role in the continued existence of this problem, because the girls can bring home food with the money that they get from these men.  The parents do not ask questions and turn a blind eye to what is happening.

According to a press release sent out by the Red Card campaign, 400 000 red cards will be distributed by Sonke Gender Justice and Grassroots Soccer to ensure that community activists are aware of the different forms of exploitation and are prepared to roll out campaigns in their communities.

Sonke will be targeting adult men, while Grassroots Soccer will be educating high school learners, teaching them how  the red card can be used to defend themselves and their friends. Scrutinize has also launched television adverts to promote the use of the red card. Watch one of the Scrutinize adverts below.

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