What’s behind “the world’s most understanding” ads?

A campaign for the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline tries to grab the attention of victims by showing them the empathy they are searching for.
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It’s a simple message of empathy that’s meant to draw attention to a very serious issue.

Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. And “the most understanding ads in the world” are a way of drawing eyeballs to a message in a much smaller font that people searching for some understanding might desperately need to hear. It lets victims of human trafficking know that if they call the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline, they will be connected with someone who empathizes with what they are going through, knows the reality they are facing and can help guide them along the path out.

The campaign is by Good & Ready, which began its relationship with the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking in the summer, as the organization was looking for advertising and media support.

According to Good & Ready founder Terry Drummond, ads are primarily coming to OOH, as victims often have their phones taken from them by predators. They are also appearing on Instagram and with a small digital component too, he says.

“We wanted to have on street exposure where we might catch people in a moment, by themselves,” Drummond says, telling strategy the first wave of this campaign will remain in-market for a couple of months.

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In 2007, a motion was first introduced in Parliament proclaiming February 22, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, an attempt to help draw attention to the magnitude of this form of modern day slavery. According to Drummond, it’s still an incredibly challenging subject matter to take on, despite the attention it has received in recent years, and that it wanted a one-to-one voice in the work addressing victims. The secondary target, he says, is those who are vulnerable to trafficking, allowing them to get a picture of the world they could potentially enter.

The campaign is punctuated with the ideas that will speak to the mindset of human trafficking victims: that they do not need to feel shame for being trafficked, that there is a way out, that they don’t need to face it along and that they are loved. The hotline, Drummond says, is the first step in terms of making a connection with the support victims need.

“There is a purposeful effort and desire to really lean into this issue and make sure there is support for the hotline.”

According to Stats Canada data, police services in Canada have reported 1,708 incidents of human trafficking since 2009, with 97% of victims being women and girls.

Strategic Objectives is providing PR support for the campaign.