We Don’t Buy It was a bold campaign that told the truth about prostitution and sex trafficking in Ireland. The primary targets of the campaign were men who pay for sex, men who are considering paying for sex and those who have done so in the past to alert them that their actions are not benign and carry consequences for both the women they exploit and themselves under the legislation. A concurrent stream of the campaign was designed to raise awareness for those involved in prostitution of the services that are available to them.
We Don’t Buy It was a combined effort of Ruhama, SPACE International, the Sexual Violence Centre Cork and the Men’s Development Network.
The campaign collated data through a commissioned Red C poll relating to the attitudes of sex buyers and potential sex buyers and used this data to execute a series of events over the course of 2020 to raise awareness about the nature of the sex trade in Ireland.
The campaign launched on March 4th, 2020 in Dublin. At this time, the campaign was envisaged to follow this up with regional launches in Waterford and Cork, combined with frontline activities in these areas and local and national awareness raising activities.
Following the announcement of public health lockdowns in early March 2020, the campaign continued without face-to-face events. Digital awareness raising combined with a series of radio advertisements over the course of 2020 became the central medium for awareness raising efforts.
The campaign hosted a Zoom webinar in Autumn 2020 as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence on the topic of the impact of COVID-19 on the sex trade. The webinar attracted attendees from all over the world representing a cross section of the public and private sector and also had many public representatives in attendance. Feedback from the webinar was overwhelming positive and speakers on the day provided key insights from the perspectives of frontline service provision, survivor perspectives and academic research sources on the severe impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on women in the sex trade.
A recording of the webinar can be accessed on YouTube here.
**This campaign was funded by the Department of Justice
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