Nepal: 18minus Campaign

Recognizing that girls working in the adult entertaining sector in Kathmandu are in danger of sexual exploitation, EAI implemented this dynamic SBCC activity via social media.

A Project of

Helping Girls Stay Safe with the 18minus Campaign

Currently, there are over 1600 underage girls working in the Adult Entertainment Sector (AES) in Kathmandu, Nepal and more than 60% of those working there are at high risk of facing sexual exploitation. Far from being a hidden issue, commercial sexual exploitation of children is a well-known problem in Kathmandu, with stories of child exploitation in the adult entertainment venues being covered in the media on a regular basis. Recognizing this imminent need, EAI, in partnership with The Freedom Fund, launched the “18minus” campaign, a dynamic social and behavior change communications (SBCC) activity aimed at reducing the exploitation of minors in the AES venues of Kathmandu.

Campaign Activities

This campaign, although mainly targeted toward potential male clients of AES venues, is part of a broader program of initiatives designed to reduce the exploitation of young girls in the AES sector, while supporting those who leave the industry to do so safely and with dignity.

Although the campaign efforts were primarily aimed at male clients, the campaign also reached out to the broader public urging men to positively identify themselves as someone who doesn’t engage sexually with minors, while encouraging others to do the same. For this, we produced engaging media content such as videos, audio series, and posters while aiming to:

  • Pivot the perception that men should pursue young girls in AES venues to appear cool, fun-loving, and wealthy.
  • Question the belief among men that the girls in AES venues have a choice in their lifestyle.
  • Contradict justifications that engaging with minors is protective behavior and a sign of love/romance/care/support for the girls working at the venues.
  • Provide information on the legal implications, especially regarding consent laws.

An external baseline study and our formative research indicated that more than 90% of the clients of AES venues interviewed used Facebook as their preferred source of information and for online engagement. Therefore, we produced key campaign messages that were widely disseminated via the campaign’s Facebook page with over 50K followers.

Facebook competitions and youth targeted discussions were also held as part of the campaign to encourage the general public to participate in the discussion related to the importance of saying no to engaging sexually with a minor in AES venues and to highlight the positive association of saying no to minors.

I really liked the Jaane Ho series. It has raised some thought provoking issues in a very interesting and engaging manner. The characters were very relatable and convincing. It was high time such issues were addressed in the mainstream media. It was a good awareness program. – 39-year-old male radio listener

Key Highlights
  • High quality and high impact content produced and disseminated: Five short audio series, two campaign posters, nine short videos, one spoken poetry video, and one dedicated episode of Saathi Sanga Manka Kura (SSMK4), a popular radio series (with more than 6 million listenership in Nepal) were developed over the campaign period to highlight and reinforce key campaign messages.
  • Large reach of social media campaign: 7.9 million individuals reached via Facebook including 3.1 million reached through the videos and 1.6 million reached through the audio segments.
  • High levels of user views of campaign material: The videos posted online were viewed over 2 million times and the audio listened to over 800,000 times.
  • High levels of user interaction on the site: 50,000 followers and 200,000 individuals directly engaged with the posts through clicks, shares, comments.
  • 1000 posters distributed in strategic and highly dense areas of Kathmandu   

Whenever guys talk about having fun or a good time, they tend to associate it with sexual activities. I really like the message that there are many ways to feel good, it doesn't always have to be sex.