Canadian Women’s Foundation tackles sex trafficking

Canadians urged to help those who have been silenced

The interactive “Donate Your Voice” campaign for the Canadian Women’s Foundation launched nationally Monday to raise awareness of the suffering of Canada’s sex trafficking victims.

Sex trafficking is a new cause for the anti-violence, anti-poverty women’s advocacy group. According to the RCMP’s Project Safekeeping, sex trafficking is largely a domestic crime in Canada – Canadian girls and women are trafficked more frequently than foreign-born women who are smuggled into the country.

Agency partner DDB Canada created the new campaign on a pro bono basis, investing $500,000 in the work.

People are invited to visit, record themselves reading a victim’s story in their own voice and share it on social media. Videos are shot in striking black and white.

The stories were gathered from women who participated in an 18-month consultation held by the Canadian Women’s Foundation in 2013 and 2014. Shockingly, most of the women and girls interviewed had been forced into sex work at the age of 13 or younger.

The campaign team was faced with a hurdle, however. “Many girls who have been sex trafficked are unable to share their own story because of fear for their safety or fear for the safety of their family and friends, or because of trauma or stigma,” said Mary Mowbray, chair of the national marketing committee at the Canadian Women’s Foundation, in a release. The strategy of having ordinary Canadians read the women’s stories found away around that problem, and gave the foundation a way to do it without feeling that they were co-opting the women or speaking for them.

“’Donate your voice’ feels more like standing in solidarity with them,” said Sarah Ruddle, director of marketing and communications for the foundation

The foundation first partnered with DDB on creating a national brand campaign for them in 2012. This marks their second time working together. The “Donate Your Voice” campaign was created in concert with DDB affiliate Tribal Worldwide – Toronto in collaboration with production partners Alter Ego, Kith and Kin, Grayson Matthews and Saints Editorial.

The Canadian Women’s Foundation’s national media partner Rogers Media has donated significant space across their TV, radio, print and online properties. The ads will also run in out-of-home media in major markets thanks to discounted or donated media from Adapt Media, NewAd, Pattison Outdoor, Pattison Onestop, Lamar Advertising Company and Streetseen Media. They will run on TV via Shaw Media, Cineplex, Corus Entertainment and CBC, and online media through a buy from Aber Group.

Paul Wallace is the executive creative director behind the campaign, Domenique Raso is the copywriter and Rebecca May is the art director.

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