Sex traffickers hide in plain sight

Canada has a human trafficking problem. Young Canadian girls are forced into prostitution across the country. Most Canadians are unaware of this issue.

"Human trafficking occurs closer to home than most Canadians realize, and the signs can be hard to identify or are easy to dismiss,” says Sean Sportun, vice chair, Toronto Crime Stoppers. “Moreover, with the legalization of prostitution comes ambiguity over what is and isn’t a legal sexual service, making it difficult for everyday citizens to discern between a consenting sex worker and an exploited, abused and powerless victim."

Knowing that hotels are where sex trafficking occurs, Tribal Worldwide Toronto decided to educate the public by creating a fake hotel, the cleverly named Hotel Jeunesse. Through targeted search engine marketing, people searching for hotels saw banners for the hotels. Clicking through brought you to the website. At first glance the hotel looks normal, but this quickly changes as the photos and reviews become more depraved. Clicking on the rooms gives a particularly lurid description, followed by this copy:

Canada’s cities and tourist destinations are hotspots for human trafficking. And the signs are often hiding in plain sight.
If you see something, please report it to 1-800-222-TIPS.

There is also a tips page to help you recognize the signs.

While this effort is quite smart and I do applaud it, I have to say it's almost too clever. Unless you're willing to spend time on the site to pick up on the subtlety, you might still miss the point. But it's a great effort to target travelers who might actually be able to spot the signs and help stop crime.

Client: Toronto Crime Stoppers
Agency: Tribal Worldwide Toronto

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