Posted by: Ophelia | May 12, 2008

It started with an “oh no they didn’t”

So first I saw this:

At first I couldn’t really tell what the ad was saying, but the bigger version has the website listed and I dutifully investigated.

Prior and during the European soccer championships due to be held in June 2008, we will inform a large audience about the trafficking of women specifically for the purpose of prostitution and, commit ourselves to a better victims and witnesses protection program

Expected outcomes

  • Information: People attending the Euro 08 and all related events must become aware of both the extent and repercussions of the trafficking in women.
  • Prevention: Anyone who comes in contact with a victim of trafficking must behave in a responsible and adequate way. Our focus will mainly be on raising awareness amongst men who are the most likely – as clients – to come face-to-face with victims of trafficking,
  • There is a lack of victims’ protection. This must change.Victims of trafficking need specific protection measures. These include safe accommodation and professional accompaniment. We aim to mobilize as many people as possible – before and during the soccer cup – in order to support this demand.
  • We aim to raise the awareness of men – for example of male football fans.The Euro 08 hosts a majority male audience. As potential clients of prostitutes, men might get in contact with victims of trafficking. We hope that as they gain awareness of the issue, they will act in a responsible way.

A separate section of the site is specifically for clients of prostitutes and instructs them of proper behavior if they think their escort is being forced. “Prostitution without compulsion and violence.

So, what do you think? Could you imagine such a campaign taking place during oh, say, the Superbowl? I notice that the original ad copy read “Stop Trafficking” I think that one was more clear if you’re just glancing over it. I saw in the comments on that a lot of people were confused and thought it could even be referring to her gold chains or her shoes.


  1. I don’t know exactly how I feel about this one.

    My first reactions were as follows: “What??” “Oh-” and “That probably won’t work to well.”

    The reason for me thinking the following is because of my perception (which may be off, of course) of sporting events, especially football (soccer) in other parts of the world, where there is an air of masculinity and where femininity of any kind is subservient or warped to fit the masculine air (hot babes, or women whose intensity for the game matches that of the men). Soccer fans, I have noted, can be frantic, with their adrenaline pumping, cheering for their team, hoping to see the other fail.

    Doesn’t seem to me like the best place to draw attention to such a subject that needs to be taken seriously. I kind of doubt that people would even notice it.

    **I got many of those ideas reinforced after reading “Balls and Permissions,” a chapter in a book called “Researching Gender Violence: Feminist methodology in action.”

  2. I have to say its admirable to try and point this campaign at such a big event, but likewise–I’m thinking it may not be received well or at all considering the event.

  3. I don’t think people are going to pay any more attention to it than they would another ad. For these sports fans, it’s like a form of bloodlust they feel for their sport and they probably won’t care about anything else. This is why it makes more sense to bring these things up at concerts and those types of events.

    On second thought, the Superbowl might be a better idea, because you don’t see riots happening at the Superbowl, and the fans don’t be quite so bloodthirsty, but it would probably be buried under the testosterone anyways.

  4. Yeah, I’d like to clarify that I find it admirable, too. Just that I feel that it would be hard for it to be effective in this place.

  5. It’s still better than nothing.

    At least a ton of people are going to hear about this issue for the first time, and then maybe later they can learn more. It is a large event, and that means people will be distracted, but they might also be more likely to extend some trust-by-association to the messages.

    The ad is a little confusing, but all the sex trafficking awareness ads I have encountered have been this way, which has forced me to look more into it. And the type of people who want to look more into it are the type of people who will be receptive to the message in the first place.

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