What is the Cool Men Don’t Buy Sex Campaign?
The Cool Men Don’t Buy Sex Campaign is a call to end demand for sex trafficking. Cool Men highlights the role that men play in fostering the sex industry. Anti-trafficking efforts frequently address only the victims of sex trafficking, ignoring the force that fuels the trade – male demand for purchased sex. Without demand for purchased sex, traffickers, pimps, and brothel owners will be driven out of business. Apne Aap’s ultimate goal is both societal and legal change. Cool Men Don’t Buy Sex will enlist both men and women to put pressure on the Indian Government for the enactment of the proposed Section 5C of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA). This amendment will shift the burden of criminalization from women and girls in prostitution to the men who buy sex and the pimps who profit from violent exploitation.
A Sucessful Petition
After a year of campaigning, we are thrilled to announce that we met our target goal of 10,000 signatures for our Cool Men Don’t Buy Sex Petition. We submitted the petition to the office of the president of India and the Ministry of Women and Child. We have received a letter back from the ministry, saying that our recommendations have been taken on. Apne Aap has also been told told that our proposed amendment to ITPA has been seen by the Ministry of Women and Child Development to the Law Ministry for final drafting, before it goes to the cabinet for approval. It will then be put before Parliament. Two of our recommendations have been incorporated into the amendment: 1) Decriminalizing of women in prostitution; 2) More severe punishment for traffickers (up to 7 years in prison, 5 lakhs). Our third recommendation for punishment of johns has not been incorporated, so we will continue to campaign for this.
Public Awareness: This isn’t Just a Legal Issue
Apne Aap wants society to understand:
- Prostitutes are victims not criminals. The true criminals are the pimps, traffickers, and johns.
- Prostitution is not a choice. It is a lack of choice.
- Prostitution is not “the world’s oldest profession;” Pimping is the world’s oldest profession.
- When men buy sex, they are funding a multibillion dollar industry that inevitably exploits women and girls.
How we are Spreading the Word
Check out the Cool Men Don’t Buy Sex Facebook group. We update the page regularly with relevant content, updates on our petition, and practical ways you can get involved—from where ever in the world you may be.
The campaign includes a podcast and video series, featuring male leaders taking a stand against sex trafficking.
Student groups from around India are hosting band drives and awareness raising events, while gathering signatures for the petition. This campaign was launched by SHAPATH (Symbiosis Headstart for Awarness and Prevention and Action against Trafficking in Humans) in Pune. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to bring the Cool Men campaign to your campus!
The campaign features radio jingles and street plays written by survivors targeting populations most likely to engage in or be affected by the sex trade.