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Answering the Call: Strategic Objectives Leads Awareness Raising Campaign for The Canadian Centre To End Human Trafficking

Multi-faceted program encourages those being exploited to call 1-833-900-1010

By Strategic Objectives

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Following a competitive bid, Strategic Objectives has been chosen as the Communications Agency of Record for The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking (The Centre), a national charitable organization dedicated to ending human trafficking. Strategic Objectives is leading a dynamic multi-channel communication strategy that culminates on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day on February 22. For this program, Strategic Objectives created a powerful tri-agency team which includes Good&Ready and Hotspex Media to bring the best creative and media experts together to support the effort.

Strategic Objectives earned the opportunity to work with The Centre based on its compelling strategic approach complemented by its past work on this issue. The agency has a strong history in raising public awareness for some of the most difficult and important issues that face our society, including award-winning work on sex trafficking, stopping violence against women, international barriers to education for children, and sustainability, to name a few.

Hotline Staff Here to Help – They listen. They do not judge.

For The Centre, Strategic Objectives built its strategy on empathy, understanding and education. Human trafficking is taking place in every community across Canada and anyone can be affected. It tears lives apart and the campaign helps all Canadians learn about the issue and identify the signs of human trafficking and sex trafficking, in particular. Messaging is also aimed directly at those who are being trafficked to encourage calls to the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-833-900-1010 to connect with trauma-trained staff members who listen and provide support.

The multi-phased communications program began pre-holiday with a highly effective media relations campaign to counter misperceptions and raise awareness for the Hotline. This push generated a substantial increase in calls to the Hotline that are helping to change lives and set a platform of understanding for the current campaign.

February Focus on Toxic Relationships

The multi-channel campaign is now in full swing and is revealing the more toxic side of human relationships amidst the idyllic notions of love and romance that usually dominate February. Since most of the calls to the Hotline deal with sex trafficking, the program is highlighting this aspect of the issue, with a focus on healthy relationships. Predominantly impacting young people, sex trafficking often begins with someone the victim knows, loves and trusts. These young criminals have mastered the process of luring, grooming and trafficking individuals by preying on their vulnerabilities. Fostering healthy relationships is at the heart of ending sex trafficking, making February an ideal time for the campaign.

Working Together to Change Lives

To help bring the vision to life, Strategy Objectives engaged the highly talented team at Good&Ready and the outstanding group at Hotspex Media, and forged a variety of tactics to share campaign messaging. The February take-over includes public relations, social media, digital advertising, wild postings, audio news releases, subway advertising and convenience stores ads – a less conventional mix, but one that connects with the people who can benefit from the Hotline.

“This is a very complex and sensitive issue, and one that demands empathy and deep understanding of both the issue and the pressure that those being trafficked experience,” says Judy Lewis, Co-founder and Partner, Strategic Objectives. “Our tri-agency team worked harmoniously together. Good&Ready brought innovative thinking, heart, and meaningful creative to this project. And our past award-winning work with Hotspex Media made them a logical partner to bring unique thinking to help this program reach both those in need and those who want to help.”

It can be extremely difficult to connect with those being trafficked as they are usually being watched and monitored, therefore the campaign’s advertising mix is varied.

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The World’s Most Understanding Campaign: You Are Loved

Our insights revealed that digital advertising would be imperative for awareness, but often those being trafficked are denied access to their phones so out-of-home street ads are also part of the plan. Posters are tailored to their environment and boldly claim to be The World’s Most Understanding Poster, Subway Ad, or Convenience Store Ad to support the understanding nature of the Hotline and its staff. The simple, poignant ads are anchored by a homespun heart icon and the words “You Are Loved” as victims are often convinced by their traffickers that no one else loves them.

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“The creative is designed to help victims and survivors understand they have options,” says Terry Drummond, Founder, Creative, Good&Ready “We want to reach them directly with a message of hope and to let them know that someone cares about them and is ready to help. The Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline offers support, whether that is just simply someone to listen, or someone to help develop a safety plan towards freedom.”

Public Relations outreach is adding additional depth to the campaign, informing Canadians about healthy relationships as well as the signs of sex trafficking. Research shows that Canadians believe this is an issue of concern, but they don’t know how to make a difference. The team at Strategic Objectives is sharing The Centre’s messaging to help mobilize communities. For those who want to spread the message further, campaign posters are available for downloading on The Hotline's Website, and Canadians are also encouraged to join the online conversations using #EndHumanTrafficking.

“The Hotspex team is grateful to be working on such an important campaign,” adds Josh Rosen, President, Hotspex Media. “I would like to thank the Canadian media suppliers who stepped up with added value placements and extended in-market times to ensure this important message effectively reaches those in need of support.”

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