FROM PROSTITUTION TO PROSECUTION – TAKING UNDERAGE GIRLS OUT OF INDIA’S BROTHELS TO BECOME LEADERS IN THE LAW COURTS
A new school which aims to combat child prostitution by teaching the victims law opens its doors today in a world first (6 April).
The School for Justice in India will take underage girls out of the country’s brothels and train them to be lawyers and prosecutors with the power to ensure the criminals who force them into sex work are punished.
It has been set up by the Free a Girl Movement together with one of India’s most respected law universities and is both a physical school and an education programme. It will offer the support, tuition and mentoring that the girls need to reach university level.
After that, the girls will spend five years studying to get to their Bachelor of Law – and ultimately become public prosecutors to challenge India’s legal system from within.
Initially, 19 girls are being taught in the School of Justice, though this is poised to increase, and a class for 2018 is already in the making.
Asha, one of the first students at the School for Justice, said: “I want to become a lawyer, because I want to fight against child traffickers.”
1.2 million children in forced prostitution vs. 55 legal cases
India has the most underage sex workers in the world with an estimated 1.2 million children working in brothels against their will. These girls, some as young as seven years old, are abducted from their homes, sold to human traffickers and often tortured to cooperate. They suffer horrendously, with victims frequently living in inhumane conditions and sometimes locked up in cages.
Despite the magnitude of the problem, the amount of prosecutions against those involved is incredibly low. In 2015 there were only 55 cases that led to convictions. There is no data on 2016 yet. That’s 1.2 million children in forced prostitution vs. 55 legal cases. The fact the perpetrators are not being punished allows underage prostitution to continue on such a scale. In addition, a lack of good lawyers and judges with knowledge around human trafficking and child prostitution impacts the amount of convictions. All these factors have motivated the Free a Girl Movement India to take the radical step of opening the School for Justice.
Bollywood actor and activist Mallika Sherawat, who is an ambassador of Free a Girl Movement, is a committed supporter of the School for Justice. She said: “Underage girls forced into prostitution is a problem that we simply can’t ignore any longer. It’s the organised and systematic rape of young girls, happening on a mass scale, right here in Mumbai, Delhi and other cities in India. Girls, sometimes as young as 7 or 8, are forced into this life. By freeing the girls, we’re not changing the system that allows this crime to happen. To break this cycle, we will attack a key factor: the fact that the perpetrators are not being punished. Because they are not punished, they can continue with their crimes. I ask you to support the School for Justice to help the victims turn their anger at this injustice into a force for good – and a furious determination to put everyone involved in child prostitution behind bars.”
Francis Gracias, Free a Girl Movement CEO said: “The School for Justice is an ambitious project – the class of 2017 is just the first step in our plan. We want to attack the culture that allows the criminals behind child prostitution by educating the victims of this crime to become lawyers and prosecutors with the power to change the system. We appeal to all of India to get behind The School for Justice and support our cause – as we can’t do this alone. Ultimately we want governmental support and to build up a robust advocacy programme to push for law reform to make a positive change for India.”
The ad agency behind the idea, J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam has gone far beyond the traditional ad campaign for India’s burgeoning ‘Free a Girl Movement’ with its work to create a School for Justice where the victims of child prostitution in India are taught law, enabling them to prosecute the criminals responsible. This radical approach taken to help raise awareness about child prostitution in India for the movement is both a solution to a problem as well as a communications idea to boost its profile.
For information found here;
Watch the film: https://youtu.be/
Images found here: http://schoolforjustice.
Notes to editors:
More about the communication behind School For Justice:
The School for Justice has been created by a leading global creative team, who together are delivering a powerful campaign across India. This team is led by advertising agency J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam.The campaign films were directed by Juliette Stevens at New Amsterdam Film Company. The website has been created by This Page. The music is composed and produced by MassiveMusic.
More about J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam
Innovation agency of the year 2016, J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam, is known for their fundamental and innovative ideas, such as last year’s multi-grand prix winning campaign for ING Bank, The Next Rembrandt. J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam came up with the idea of the ‘School for Justice’. Together with Free a Girl Movement India, J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam has brought the school to life. The School for Justice will officially open on the April 6th 2017 in Mumbai.
More about the School for Justice:
The School for Justice is more than a physical school; it’s an entire programme to educate girls that are rescued from child prostitution to become lawyers and prosecutors with the power to prosecute the criminals that once owned them. The school opens on April 6 2017 with the first class of 19 girls.
More about Free a Girl Movement:
The Free a Girl Movement raises awareness and local resources for its partner organisations and networks fighting child prostitution and the impunity of offenders of child prostitution. The Free a Girl Movement is an initiative of the international NGO Free a Girl.
Sabnam, student at the School for Justice:
“I was 9 years old when I was sold to work as a prostitute. I was tortured severely. The perpetrators are not punished and walk around free. That’s why I’m still not free”
Dolon, student at the School for Justice:
“The people who did this to me are still out there, doing it to other girls.’
Yasmin, student at the School for Justice:
“No one listened to me, I want to be the voice of the girls in the brothels.”
Asha, student at the School for Justice:
“I want to become a lawyer, because I want to fight against child traffickers.”
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