Hollywood star Famke Janssen and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad are helping to launch #voiceforjustice, an international campaign from the NGO Free a Girl asking women all over the world to support child survivors of sexual exploitation by raising their voices. Every year 2 million child victims are sexually exploited worldwide, the vast majority girls, but less than 1% of the perpetrators are convicted.
The #voiceforjustice campaign, created by Amsterdam agency Joe Public Take-Away Advertising, features Janssen, Murad and many other celebrities and experts who are supporting the campaign and raising an urgent call to action.
The global campaign invites everyone to raise their voice for justice and petition against the sexual exploitation of children and the impunity of the criminals behind it by donating their voices via Free a Girl’s web tool on www.freeagirl.com/voiceforjustice
The #voiceforjustice initiative has a bold aim: to collect hundreds of thousands of voices of women from all over the world. The donated testimonies become a huge audio file – a first-of-its-kind aural petitioning tool. Instead of collecting signatures, Free a Girl will create a mass petition you can listen to, signified by every supporter’s voice. This will be used to lobby governments in Asia and presented to key authorities across the world at the end of the campaign, including to the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs in Nepal, the high commissioner for Human Rights at the UN (Michelle Bachelot) and other Human Rights lawyers and advocates, such as Amal Clooney and Malala Yousafzai.
Free a Girl also runs the innovative School for Justice programme to end the impunity of the offenders of child prostitution by training survivors to become lawyers and public prosecutors. The campaign features a Nepali student of the School for Justice, as the third school to educate the survivors of child sexual exploitation in Law is officially opened in Nepal.
For millions of child survivors of sexual exploitation, speaking out against perpetrators is daunting, even impossible. The child survivors of these horrific acts feel unable to report them due to feelings of shame. A large proportion of child victims are afraid of reprisals if they report the crimes and do not believe the legal system will give a fair trial. In many countries, society views these children as complicit, rather than as victims.
That’s why Janssen and Murad – an Iraqi Yazidi human rights activist who was kidnapped by Islamic State in 2014 and spent three months being tortured and raped before finally managing to escape – are asking women worldwide to speak up on their behalf. They implore women around the world to donate their voice in order to raise awareness of the deplorable acts of child sexual exploitation, and create a global dialogue around the issue.
Reading aloud the testimony of child survivor Renuka Sherpa, student at the School for Justice Nepal, Janssen en Murad and women all over the world together offer courage to those as yet unable to report what was done to them, to seek to bring perpetrators to justice.
Evelien Hölsken, Free a Girl founder, said: “We all need to speak up for the child survivors of sexual exploitation, so we are asking women all over the world to raise their voice for justice. Together we can fight for a better future and make sure that the perpetrators receive the justice they deserve. The problem is getting bigger by the day – so we need to take action, now.”
Marcel Hartog, Creative Director, Joe Public Take-Away Advertising, said: “After the success of the School for Justice in India, Free a Girl has just opened a new school in Nepal. However, we noticed that even girls like Renuka, who studies law there, does not feel she can file a report about the crimes that happened to her, she is too scared and ashamed. So we thought, what if we asked thousands of women all over the world to speak for her, and read out her testimony. That would give Renuka, and the millions of other girls like her, the support to help them have the courage to report these crimes.”
The #voiceforjustice campaign video:
The campaign is launched globally and is supported by an online media push for the UK, US, Nepal, India and the Netherlands. It is underpinned by a PR and social media campaign with multiple social videos created by communication agency The Humblebrag.
Other women supporting the campaign include the writer Mariane Pearl, widow of Daniel Pearl who was kidnapped and murdered by terrorists while he worked for the Wall Street Journal, and Hayley Hasselhoff, actress, curve model and designer who champions body positivity and mental health.
Free a Girl is officially opening the third School for Justice in Nepal. Like their existing school which opened in India in 2017, and a second school in India that recently opened, this has a bold aim: to fight the injustice of child sexual exploitation by educating rescued girls, empowering them to speak out and enabling them to prosecute perpetrators of child sexual exploitation, fight impunity and bring those responsible to justice. At the School for Justice, child survivors are trained as lawyers, journalists, paralegal workers, police and more, so they can change the system from the inside.