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Shock campaign confronts Canadians with the realities of trafficked youth

Shock campaign confronts Canadians with the realities of trafficked youth

Shock campaign confronts Canadians with the realities of trafficked youth
[via Huffington Post]

It’s a well-known tactic used to shake up complacency in the first world. We’ve seen it done in the “Woman to Go” campaign in Tel Aviv, as well as this one in South Africa  and this one in Canada and another the UK, more than 10 years ago.

But the idea still has the power to get attention, apparently. The image above was used in a series of posters that appeared in Edmonton, Canada, leading to a “recruitment’ site:

Shock campaign confronts Canadians with the realities of trafficked youth
[screencap via Edmonton Journal]

The “reveal” happened as posters were sniped and the website changed to deliver the branded campaign message:

Shock campaign confronts Canadians with the realities of trafficked youth
[via CBC]

o-STOPTRAFFIC-570
[via Huffington Post]

According to the Edmonton Journal, the campaign caused a flurry of activity and angry complaints when it was posted in Edmonton, including concern from other organizations working in the same field, such as Stop the Traffik, the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation and the Action Coalition on Human Trafficking.

“I’m very conflicted,” Mark Cherrington, an Edmonton youth court worker, told Sun News Network. “It was inappropriate in the sense that it left you hanging. There was nothing to clarify, there was no context.”

The organization behind the campaign is Chrysalis, an Edmonton-based federal not-for-profit corporation launched in 2010. Its Executive Director is Jacqueline Linder, a clinical psychologist and professor at Edmonton’s satellite campus for Seattle-based City University.

She told Edmonton Journal:

“We understand that many of you found the SexWork4U campaign repulsive, disturbing and offensive and we agree. Sadly, these adjectives don’t even begin to describe the misery, the atrocities that victims of human trafficking incur on a daily basis.”
Ms. Linder said that the RCMP, Canada’s federal police, were notified ahead of time about the campaign, to prevent misunderstanding. But once the campaign hit the Twitterverse, the shit really hit the fan with people calling it “awful” and ” a very bad parody”.

Now that the campaign tease has been revealed, sexwork4u.com redirects to stoptheteaffic.ca.

What do you think of this tactic? Definitely attention-getting, but is it in bad taste? And more importantly, will it make a difference?

Advertiser:
Chrysalis
Source:
Edmonton Journal

I am Creative Director at Acart Communications, a Canadian Social Issues Marketing agency. Read more