Events – Overview
The campaign included events as part of its communications strategy. At strategic points of the campaign, events were optimised to communicate key messages and recommendations of Turn Off the Red Light. All events are supported by a communications strategy, maximising discussion and debate. They are an opportunity to target specific audiences and recruit supporters, in addition to engaging with existing supporters.
The following are some examples:
Not Natasha Exhibition
The Not Natasha photographic exhibition was co-hosted by ICI and FOMACS (Forum on Migration and Communications) and featured the work of Romanian artist, Dana Popa. The work depicted images of victims of sex trafficking and their family members. It attracted a large number of visitors to a ‘pop up gallery’ in the city centre, near the Parliament during the month it was on show.
A series of events were organised in conjunction with the event to raise awareness of the issue of sex trafficking. A briefing on the issue of sex trafficking and indoor prostitution was held for members of the Seanad as part of the Turn Off the Red light (TORL) campaign. This resulted in a motion in the Seanad on the issues, with the Minister for Justice responding, offering a consultation process to examine the existing laws on prostitution and human trafficking.
An animation workshop was also held for film makers and artists interested in addressing the issues of prostitution and trafficking in their work along with a screening of the ‘Two Little Girls’, a short film about sex trafficking.
The closing event of the exhibition was attended by several public figures such as the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Andrew Montague, formerChairperson of Commumcorp, Lucy Gaffney, documentary maker, Alan Gilsenan, INMO Social Policy Director, Clare Treacy, novelist, Sarah Hart, Ken McCue from SARI, Cllr Emer Costello and John Cunningham, Chair of ICI. All gave short manifestos outlining the need to tackle human trafficking through the criminalisation of the buying of sex.
The Price of Sex – Movie Screening:
In coordination with the Turn Off the Red Light campaign, the Immigrant Council of Ireland and the Irish Feminist Network hosted a screening of the award winning documentary, ‘The Price of Sex’. ‘The Price of Sex’ is a feature-length documentary about young Eastern European women who’ve been drawn into a netherworld of sex trafficking and abuse. Intimate, harrowing and revealing, it is a story told by the young women who were supposed to be silenced by shame, fear and violence. Photojournalist Mimi Chakarova, who grew up in Bulgaria, takes us on a personal investigative journey, exposing the shadowy world of sex trafficking from Eastern Europe to the Middle East and Western Europe. Filming undercover and gaining extraordinary access, Chakarova illuminates how even though some women escape to tell their stories, sex trafficking thrives.
The film was followed by a panel discussion, including: Paul Maguire, reporter behind the recent Prime Time programme ‘Profiting from Prostitution’ Linda Latham, Co-ordinator of the Women’s Health Project, HSE Denise Charlton, CEO of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, Una Mullaly, journalist and broadcaster.
SARI supports the campaign:
Soccer players from the SARI (Sport Against Racism Ireland) Soccer-fest showed their solidarity and their support for the Turn Off the Red Light: End prostitution in Ireland campaign. Racism is inherent in the exploitation of migrant women involved in prostitution. The Soccer-fest is the largest intercultural 7-A-Side amateur football festival in Europe. The players come from parts of Africa where it is not uncommon for girls and boys to be abducted and sold into the ‘sex trade’. The soccer players participated in the event to show their commitment to fight for human rights and dignity of all people, and against all forms of exploitation. The players are drawn from the football club of the African Diaspora Youth organisation, Insaka-Ireland. Over 4,000 sportsmen and anti-racist campaigners participated, making this one of the biggest anti-racism initiatives in Ireland.
The Mother and Daughters Annual Fundraising Lunch –
The annual Mothers and Daughters’ lunch is a special occasion entirely dedicated to women. The event raised funds for the work, in addition to highlighting the issues and recruiting supporters. This female only event is attended annually by 200 women, including many high-profile figures from Irish society who are supportive of the campaign, inclusive of members of parliament, media, business and other opinion formers.
Irish men call for an end to sex trafficking and sexual exploitation:
Men in favour of reform of Ireland’s outdated prostitution laws spoke out in support of the Turn Off the Red Light: End Prostitution in Ireland campaign. The event, which was chaired by poet Theo Dorgan, Fergus Finlay (CEO of Barnardos), John Cunningham (Chair of Immigrant Council of Ireland), Diarmaid Ó Corrbuí (Chair of Ruhama), David Begg (ICTU), Eamon Devoy (TEEU) and Peter Sheridan (Film maker), called for action to prevent the sexual exploitation of women and children in Ireland through dissuasive measures against those who buy sex.