The Red Card Campaign, which ran between May and Dec 2010, used the sports metaphor of a red card to focus attention on the need to reduce children's, especially girls’ vulnerability to sexual exploitation during and after the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. A partnership between Sonke Gender Justice Network (Sonke), Grassroots Soccer, and various other non-governmental organisations, the campaign activities used mass media, such as print, radio, and television; distribution of campaign materials at shopping centres, transport hubs, and traffic lights; and ambush theatre performances.
Focusing in Johannesburg and Cape Town, 22 partner organisations participated in training and roll-out of activities designed to increase awareness of sexual exploitation and increase the ability and willingness of people to intervene to prevent and/or report it. Sonke developed an integrated set of activities that were also intended to change attitudes and behaviour, especially among men and boys. Overall, the campaign was designed to ensure that participants and viewers understood both the legal and the ethical dimensions of sexual exploitation broadly, but with an emphasis on the particular gravity of sexual exploitation of children.
The campaign used the following strategies.
One of the key strategies of the campaign was the strong emphasis on Ambush Theatre. Also called Invisible Theatre, this involves the performance of a thought-provoking scene in a public space, without passers-by being aware that it is theatre. The audience is drawn into the action and invited to participate in a discussion of the issues. Sonke adopted this as a key means of raising awareness about sexual exploitation and demonstrating the Red Card approach. The Red Card toolkit included instructions on how to perform Ambush Theatre and an Ambush Theatre instructional video and real-world demonstration, filmed in Cape Town at the Claremont taxi rank during the campaign activation. The performance shows how Ambush Theatre can be used to get attention and spark debate and discussions around sexual exploitation of children and the "fouls" that deserve the Red Card.
Use of Media
Campaign messages were published and broadcast across local and national print, radio, and television media to reach people across the country. Ranging from Scrutinize television animerts which were broadcast widely on national TV during the World Cup, to radio public service announcements, interviews and full-page magazine ads, the media aspect of the campaign, sought to raise general awareness about child sexual exploitation, calling on the public to step in and stop potentially harmful situations.
In preparation for the campaign launch day, Sonke conducted training with selected volunteers from different communities. The training focused on forms of sexual exploitation, particularly involving children, and on how to use the Red Card as a tool to stop it. Participants learnt about "red card fouls", such as having sex with someone under age or buying stuff to get sex from a young person, and were equipped with red cards to use when they encounter any of these situations. Selected partner organisations were also been engaged, sensitised, and trained on the Red Card methodology and assisted in the role out of the campaign.
Partner organisation, Grassroots Soccer, worked with youth during their holiday camps to explain child sexual exploitation and its implications in terms of HIV risk. They distributed over 200,000 Red Cards through the Skillz Holiday Supplement and incorporated the Red Card approach into their curriculum for continued use.
Sexual Exploitation, HIV/AIDS
According to Sonke, in terms of scope, the campaign reached a large number of people directly through training and public activities, and had a further media reach of millions of people. In total, 1,163 people completed the Sonke Red Card training which enabled them to roll out the campaign further, and 12,126 learners completed the Grassroot Soccer Red Card module. Initial workshop assessments indicated that, especially amongst Grassroot Soccer’s young participants, knowledge of the links between HIV and inter-generational sex improved significantly.