I recently had the opportunity to talk with Jessie Macneil-Brown, Global Campaigns Manager for The Body Shop’s campaign to Stop the Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People. This post continues our discussion of the important work they are doing on this important topic. Q/ You have also launched a global report about child trafficking for sexual purposes. What learnings have been most significant? How has the response been to the report?
A/ The report was the foundation of our global campaign which helped us to establish the key challenges the world faces in the fight against sex trafficking. We learnt the sex trafficking of children and young people is a problem in every country around the world and it’s on all our doorsteps.
We also found that the problem was getting worse, rather than better and that governments were not doing enough to tackle the problems and to protect children. However, the most significant area of the report was the announcement that we would create “Country Progress Cards” to
These progress cards identified what specific action national governments needed to take to protect children and young people in thier jurisdiction. It was the findings from these Progress Cards which informed our petition calls to action across 40 countries around the world.
The response to the report was very encouraging, even more encouraging was the response we had when using these findings to create our petitions and calls to action to national governments.
Q/ This campaign has achieved some incredible successes. Any stories to share?
A/ The campaign has generated a massive amount of public support. In less than 12 months, over 7million The Body Shop customers signed our petitions and when we presented the petitions to national governments, 14 countries committed to taking specific actions to create real and long term change. This includes 5 countries; Malaysia, Ireland, New Zealand, Indonesia and Pakistan, where our petitions encouraged governments to commit to signing and ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography.
Other memorable highlights include • We have also presenting the biggest petitions in the history of the United Nations to the United Nations Human Rights Council. • We also presented the biggest human rights petition in their history to the EU Commission. • The United Nations Business Leader Award against Human Trafficking was awarded to our campaigns director, Christopher Davis. • US President Bill Clinton, at the Clinton Global Initiative, praised our campaign for setting an exemplary approach [collaboration between The Body Shop and ECPAT – private sector and NGO]
Q/ Trafficking continues to be one of the top illegal industries in the world. Based on your work, when do you think we will achieve real change?
A/ We have seen some inspiring progress on the issue this year with 14 governments committing to action as a response to our petitions.
We believe collaboration between multi stakeholders within governments, business and civil society enables progress and creates sustainable change. Our campaign has capitalised on ECPAT’s global network as well as The Body Shop’s ability to reach millions of customers through more than 2,600 stores in 65 countries, we have worked with customers, activists, supporters, states and decisions makers.
Around the world our campaign has received support from political leaders who also believe it’s crucial that governments, companies and NGO’s work together to raise public awareness and create positive engagement. By producing a multi stakeholder approach we can ensure a more holistic response to the problem of the sex trafficking of children and young people and deliver real change.
Q/ Anything else to add?
A/ The success of the campaign is a tribute to the commitment of my 50,000 colleagues who work in The Body Shop stores and have taken this campaign into their hearts. The success is really down to their passion and determination
Jessie, thanks so much for your time. The Body Shop is a wonderful example of how businesses can drive change on this important issue. I urge other businesses to follow suit and invite everyone to support The Body Shop’s campaign.