This poster is meant to stop trafficking

// 12 May 2008

stopslavery.jpgVia feminocracy, this poster is meant to address the issue of women being trafficked into Austria and Switzerland, in response, at least possibly, to demand created by hosting Euro 08.

A laudable aim, of course, but this slightly coy, ‘sexy’-type image of a white woman’s legs held together by a tiny chain, fails to get across the vicious reality of trafficked women. Doesn’t it slightly eroticise the idea? Isn’t that creepy? Look, I think it’s really important to do this work, but it’s important to consider whether or not the images and approaches used will be effective.

One commenter on, where this comes from, put it like this:

yeah, this is confused shite.

it seems a more effective as an ad for naughty escorts. not the message i think they’re after.

it’s a lost opportunity to do something meaningful and great. shame on you switzerland.

From the website:

* 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.

* Victim protection: Protection of victims and their rights must be assured and strengthened. This includes the right to stay. Our goal on this appeal is to gather the support of a minimum of 25,000 people.

And what about this site, aimed at men buying sex from prostitutes? It is called, by the way, “prostitution without compulsion and violence”.

Just… argh…

Comments From You

Anne Onne // Posted 13 May 2008 at 12:54 am

Wow, I never new trafficking was so SEXY! /sarcasm

With the almost diamante jewellery-esque chains, the airbrushed legs and tiny, stylish ‘stop slavery’ writing, you’d think that they were for trafficking. It ties in so much with the rest of the media (which is also exploitative of women, but it’s not good considering you want to persuade less feminist people of the realities) that it doesn’t show the reality or the horror. It just looks like an ad for a film or something.

On a related note, I remember reading via some radical feminist blog (no offense, I just can’t remember who it was, probably Burning Times) about how we should call ‘human trafficking’ ‘woman trafficking’, because the former is a term employed by people who are overall pro-trafficking to disguise the fact that the majority of trafficking is of women, for men’s pleasure.

It made a lot of sense. Obviously, we feminists believe women are ‘human’, but the way the real victims of trafficking are disguised by the use of more neutral language is not doing the victims a favour. Maybe if we can put a focus on the real reasons for trafficking (the comodification of and control of women’s bodies by men, for men), and force people to see what human trafficking really is, who it actually affects, how common it is, and why it exists. And looking back, I do think using the word ‘human’ makes it easier for people to not confront how exactly the humans are being abused, who is abusing them, and what group of humans we’re really talking about.

Leigh Woosey // Posted 13 May 2008 at 1:11 am

Yes, it is very creepy and has an erotic edge. I think the objective is to take something men find sexy(paid, consequence free sex) and show how really creepy it is.

Jess McCabe // Posted 13 May 2008 at 9:04 am

“On a related note, I remember reading via some radical feminist blog (no offense, I just can’t remember who it was, probably Burning Times) about how we should call ‘human trafficking’ ‘woman trafficking’, because the former is a term employed by people who are overall pro-trafficking to disguise the fact that the majority of trafficking is of women, for men’s pleasure.”

Hmmm, interesting. But there’s also a lot of trafficking of children, mostly girls, and some trafficking of boys and men. I don’t know if calling it woman trafficking really covers it. I think it’s also worth mentioning in this context that there’s also trafficking into domestic servitude, which is still trafficking under the definition.

Jennifer-Ruth // Posted 13 May 2008 at 11:02 am

Wow – I’m sorry, but this is a terrible advert. How the hell can you raise awareness about the horror of trafficking women an image that is the epitomie of objectifying?

Secondly – if this is aimed at men then the design agency that created the ad is assuming that men won’t care about women unless they are *sexy* women. Because beauty and sex appeal – that is where a woman’s worth lies, right? It isn’t like we should care about the terrible things trafficked women go through because they are human or anything.

It looks like an ad for Gucci or Prada or whatever – and we know how sexist those ads can be too. To raise awareness about the terrible truth of these issues then you need to be smacked in the face with the reality of it – not softly introduced to the idea of it in an erotic way.

The impact of this ad on raising the awareness of the plight of trafficked women? None. The titilation factor for the readers of Nuts and Zoo? High. The design agency should be ashamed.

Sarah // Posted 13 May 2008 at 12:15 pm

I remember a few years ago there was a poster campaign to ‘remind’ men not to rape women – the poster showed a thin, pale-skinned woman’s torso and thighs, naked except for a pair of skimpy knickers decorated with a ‘no entry’ symbol. That seems a similar thing – possibly well-meaning, and with a good message (rape is a crime, trafficking women is slavery) but the imagery used is part of the problem it’s supposedly trying to address.

Mary Tracy9 // Posted 13 May 2008 at 2:06 pm

You are all too kind. I am much more of a bitch.

WELL MEANING??? MY ARSE!!! If they had traficked women’s interest at heart they would have asked FEMINISTS for their opinion of this. This ad is eroticizing RAPE, sexual SLAVERY, prostitution and (unconsented) BDSM.

This is yet another example of publicist only thinking with their dicks. They can’t even pause to think with their brains long enough to come up with something that actually carries the message it’s supposed to.

The whole of assvertizing is created by dicks for dicks. It’s a mistake to expect anything different from them.

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 13 May 2008 at 2:19 pm

The article challenging the term ‘human trafficking’ was posted at Burning Times and yes correct terminology must be trafficking in women for men’s sexual exploitation’ not human trafficking. Why? Because overwhelmingly it is women and girls who are being sold into sexual slavery not men. But sex industry lobbied for terminology to be gender neutral since it cleverly hides realities of which gender is driving the demand for female sex slaves.

By the way Sweden once again is way ahead in challenging male demand for female sex slaves. One poster is entitled ‘Flush The Johns Out of The Baltic.’ Hardhitting and puts focus where it needs to be on men who believe it is their right to have sexual access to any woman. But, of course we must not focus on male demand hence the use of eroticised images of women to promote trafficking of women for men’s sexual usage. Images of scantily clad women or in this instance an eroticised image of a woman from the male-standpoint, subtly reinforces normacy of male sexual entitlement to women.

Just as in previous Government campaigns concerning men who commit rape emphasis was on portraying women’s body parts in a sexualised manner. But as I said above, we must never, never directly challenge male dominant ideologies that sexual access to any woman or girl is a male right because they happen to be males.

Jo // Posted 13 May 2008 at 4:40 pm

I agree this is a poorly-thought out campaign, for all the reasons discussed above. I agree with Jennifer Drew especially that the focus should be on the men’s so-called right to access women.

However, unfortunately, I think we are behind Sweden, and we do need a more introductory campaign for people who really do not know much about it, and do not associate ‘their’ prostitution use with the tragic images of trafficked women. The equating of prostitution and human trafficking is only relatively recently starting to be made clear to people, and ‘apparently’ even a lot of men who do use prostitutes don’t realise this. It’s the old way of having to ‘gently’ introduce people to new ideas through a medium that they’re familiar and comfortable with. I actually think people who this advert is aimed at (obviously not people who already know the score) are more likely to take notice and realise their pro-prostitution attitude and trafficking are very much tied together.

It’s all still wrong though – if they’re going to use this image, it should maybe be a 2-stage thing for example: this picture, but followed by another image of the same pair of legs (actually attached to the woman who owns them this time) in a distinctly non-sexual realistic second image: i.e. here is the link, it’s the same thing, the same person.

Seph // Posted 13 May 2008 at 6:28 pm

I’m completly baffled by how anyone could think this advert’s a good idea, it looks like an advert for shoes!

Kuja // Posted 13 May 2008 at 8:14 pm

I completely missed the wording at the bottom before looking twice. So much for raising awareness. Are they even trying to get the message across? Aren’t they supposed to research these sorts of campaigns?

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