Convening 3: Kolkata, India – Day 8 – Cool Men Don’t Buy Sex
On our last full day in Kolkata, several members of Move to End Violence were invited to join a press conference and panel for the launch of our host organization’s new campaign, Cool Men Don’t Buy Sex.
Three of our cohort members who work on the issue of sex trafficking joined Apne Aap’s Ruchira Gupta to highlight the importance of ending demand for prostitution.
Dorchen Leidholdt, director of the Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services, Sanctuary for Families and co-founder of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), gave the keynote, speaking passionately about the global nature of the problem and the campaign she’s recently been engaged with in New York City to end the demand for prostitution there.
Dorchen Leidholdt, director, Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services, Sanctuary for Families
Suzanne Koepplinger, executive director, Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, followed, sharing her experience working with trafficked Indigenous girls and women in the U.S. Suzanne’s stories of girls aged no more than 13 who are raped, abused and sold like chattel were achingly familiar and resonated across borders.
Suzanne Koepplinger, executive director, Minnesota Women’s Resource Center
Our last speaker, Ted Bunch, co-founder, A Call to Men, particularly impacted this crowd, which was heavily populated with young men from university. His engaging style drew the crowd in and sparked a particularly rich back and forth with one young man who genuinely wanted help to know how to speak to his friends who were choosing to buy women for “pocket change”. Ted offered him advice that spoke to shifting notions of masculinity and having the courage to use one’s own social power to either help friends change or disassociate with associates who refuse to do so.
Ted Bunch, co-founder, A Call to Men
By this point in the trip, our cohort had become so practiced in sharing leadership with one another that it was quite natural for those on stage to pass the microphone to friends and colleagues sitting in the front row whose particular perspective on a question would add unique value. By the end of the program, several members of our group had engaged in the rich discussion. Sitting in the audience watching, I was inspired by what a movement of aligned leaders working in collaboration can feel like: Generous. Respectful. Powerful. Impactful.
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