Medium and message

Stop the Traffik activists raised awareness of human trafficking with placards advertising a 'human sale'.

Supporters of human rights coalition Stop the Traffik took to London's Oxford Street with placards last month, advertising a 'human sale' to raise awareness of human trafficking.

On the last day before a ban on sandwich board advertising and so-called 'golf sale' banners came into force in the capital, Stop the Traffik activists stood on Oxford Street with their own signs and handed out flyers advertising "a great selection of humans, new and used, imported from all around the world".

The leaflets gave a price list of the kinds of humans available for sale to highlight the plight of people who are being used as commodities for sexual or other exploitation. They were made to look cheap and badly designed to resemble advertising for a typical London clearance sale.

Ant Melder, copywriter for ad company Saatchi & Saatchi X, which designed the leaflets, says: "Because of the enormity and urgency of the problem, we felt traditional media was not the best way to go. Posters and online messages are too easy to ignore. We wanted to do something that got right in Londoners' faces and made it impossible for them to ignore the issue."

Laura Simmonds, information and resources officer at Stop the Traffik, says the placards were the best way to get the message across. "People took the flyer light-heartedly, believing it to be a golf sale," she says. "When they realised it was about the sale of humans, they were shocked."

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