This is a guest post by Wendy Weatherford, vice president of corporate communications and marketing for Clear Channel Outdoor Americas.
Modern slavery is a billion-dollar industry that exploits 40.3 million victims around the globe. Whether you live in a bustling city, quiet suburb, or rural community, chances are human trafficking is happening right in your backyard.
Traffickers don’t see human beings, they see vulnerable individuals whom they can hold against their will and strip of their freedom. The startling reality is that of the millions of victims, 81 percent of them are trapped in forced labor, 25 percent of them are children, and each of them need help to get out.
To combat this scourge, Clear Channel Outdoor, Polaris, and Sacramento city officials, including Mayor Darrell Steinberg, aligned to launch a bilingual billboard campaign to restore the freedom of those trapped and victimized by human-trafficking. On August 2, 2018, messages reading ‘Has your boss threatened you?” and “¿Tu jefe te ha amenazado?” went live across all CCO’s 22 digital billboards in Sacramento, California.
The campaign urged victims and witnesses to call the National Human Trafficking Hotline for help at 1-888-373-7888. Appearing in both English and Spanish over 1,250 times a day, over a four-week period, the campaign generated over 32 million impressions in the region.
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Mayor Steinberg went so far as to call human trafficking a widespread modern-day evil. “Human trafficking is a severe nationwide issue that is a significant concern for the City of Sacramento,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “I firmly believe that this campaign will force individuals, whether they be observers or victims, to acknowledge the reality of this problem and encourage reports.”
The National Human Trafficking Hotline has handled over 43,000 reported cases of human trafficking in the United States since 2007, including over 7,500 from California alone — the highest number of reports from any state. The billboards are specifically designed to reach potential victims of labor trafficking, as the crime is chronically underreported and people who experience exploitation aren’t always aware there is help available.
A total of 7,200 cases of labor trafficking have been reported in the United States. California has the highest rates in the country.
“We’re proud to join in solidarity with our longtime partners, Polaris, and Mayor Steinberg to help human trafficking victims across the Sacramento area and beyond, get out of the life in which they’re trapped,” said Bob Schmitt, Regional President, Clear Channel Outdoor – Northern California. “Using this highly-visible form of media, we want to send a clear message to victims that help is available, and to traffickers, that our city is a fly-over zone for modern day slavery.”
Since, 2012 Polaris has partnered with CCOA to use out-of-home campaigns to reach victims and bring traffickers to justice. Clear Channel Outdoor has made strides to spotlight this issue alongside Polaris and local partners in Baltimore, Iowa, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Jersey, New York, Chicago, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, and across the state of Texas.
Clear Channel Outdoor plans to bring this campaign to other U.S. cities in 2019.
Lead Photo: Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg is flanked by Sacramento Sheriff’s Captain Robert Davis, Rico Ozaki of Opening Doors, Sacramento Supervisor Phil Serna, Deputy D.A. Paul Durenberger, Polaris’ National Hotline Director Caroline Diemar and Clear Channel Outdoor’s Northern California Regional President Bob Schmitt.
About the Author: Wendy Weatherford is the vice president of corporate communications and marketing for Clear Channel Outdoor Americas.