• About
  • Services
  • Work
  • News
  • Contact
  • Careers

Propel Change. Drive Action. Increase Calls. Change Lives.

Proving the Power of PR and Integrated Marketing to Help End Human Trafficking.

Share This

Background

It’s a harsh reality. Human trafficking is thriving in Canada, and sex trafficking, in particular, is now prevalent in every community across the land. This isn’t something that happens somewhere else to someone else. Anyone can be a victim; it’s affecting our families, our friends, and our neighbours.

By definition, human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation, harbouring and/or exercising control, direction or influence over the movements of a person to exploit that person – typically through sexual exploitation or forced labour.

While most Canadians express concern about human trafficking, the shocking reality is that many of us don’t really understand the issue. To bridge this gap, Strategic Objectives partnered with The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking (The Centre), a national, charitable organization dedicated to ending human trafficking, to raise awareness and promote its Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline, Canada’s only national hotline dedicated to the issue.

The Challenge

Human trafficking is a complex issue. Our integrated marketing program aimed to simplify and clarify the topic to connect and motivate Canadians to action.

Our goals included:

  • Increase understanding of human and sex trafficking
  • Equip the media and public with information on the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline to encourage engagement and empower action
  • Increase awareness of, and confidence in, the Hotline among victims and survivors of trafficking
  • Drive calls and reports to the Hotline

The Solution

A Multi-Phase Campaign Centred on Love & Healthy Relationships 

Our strategy development began with in-depth research including:

  • Deep-dive sessions with The Centre team to fully understand the issue
  • National insights survey to gauge Canadians’ understanding of human trafficking
  • Focus groups with key audiences including survivors of trafficking
  • Briefings with Hotline team members
  • Studying human trafficking reports and other relevant campaigns

Our info gathering showed most calls to the Hotline involve sex trafficking and our key priority audiences were clear:

  • Everyday Canadians, to encourage them to learn more about the issue and how to help make a difference
  • Victims and survivors of trafficking, to promote calls to the Hotline

Our research helped inform our dynamic, multi-faceted integrated marketing strategy based on empathy, understanding, and education. We developed a two-wave strategy implemented over five months.

Wave One – Sex Trafficking is Happening in Our Communities 

We used high-profile, national earned media relations to make big news for our survey which revealed Canadians’ appalling lack of knowledge about human trafficking:

  • 77% of Canadians don’t feel they can recognize the signs of human trafficking
  • Close to 60% of respondents either don’t believe, or are unaware, that human trafficking is happening in their own community
  • 52% of Canadians are unaware that sex trafficking victims are often lured by someone they know

Centre Infographic 1.jpg

Our efforts generated immediate results and widespread awareness of the Hotline as a resource for victims and survivors, their families, and anyone wanting to learn more or report an incident.

Our clear, impactful message: You can make a difference.

Wave One Media Relations were a huge success:

  • 163 articles and posts
  • 14 spokesperson interviews
  • 17.5 million impressions
  • Most importantly, calls to the Hotline spiked, as did media and community interest

Wave Two – The World’s Most Understanding Campaign

Our fully integrated, multi-faceted marketing campaign promoting the Hotline was timed to lead up to and include National Human Trafficking Awareness Day on February 22, while also news-jacking Valentine’s Day, a time typically associated with hearts and flowers. Our advertising and content program, produced in collaboration with Good&Ready and media buyers at Hotspex Media, promoted “The World’s Most Understanding Campaign,” while our concurrent media relations program focused on the more toxic side of relationships – Is it Love or Is It Luring?  

Digital and Out-of-Home Advertising 

The ad campaign employed an empathetic tone essential to reaching survivors and victims, directly. Research shows that sex trafficking victims are mostly young people who are often denied access to their phones. Both digital and real-world assets became essential to connect with them, taking into consideration when and where they might have a moment alone.

  • Messaging highlighted the caring and non-judgemental nature of the Hotline
  • A You Are Loved logo reassured victims that someone cares, as traffickers often convince them that no one else loves them
  • We took campaign messaging to the street, stores, public transit and social media

Creative Agency: Good&Ready

Media Relations 

Our bold campaign threw a cold dose of reality into the typical swirl of Valentine’s Day hearts and flowers and made news! We focused on toxic behaviours that may be a precursor to sex trafficking and the importance of healthy relationships in ending these crimes. Communications elements included:

  • Is it Love or is it Luring? An Opinion Editorial Article penned by Julia Drydyk, Executive Director of The Centre
  • Media, Influencer and Blogger Relations timed to encompass both Valentine’s Day and National Human Trafficking Awareness Day
  • An Audio News Release distributed to radio stations coast-to-coast
  • Sponsored Editorial Articles and digital content in Daily Hive and Elle Canada

Julia-CTV.png

Influencer Partnerships and Conversations

We researched and partnered with four Influencers representative of our stakeholder groups to authentically communicate info on the issue and promote the Hotline. Some shared personal stories revealing the reality of human trafficking at the community level.

  • Platforms included: Instagram, TikTok, and Podcasts
  • Postings spanned from National Human Trafficking Awareness Day right up to International Women’s Day on March 8

Influencer 1.png

The Result

This program achieved real and measurable change:

Calls to the Hotline reached record levels during the campaign, proving the power of communications in making a difference.

The campaign established The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking as a leader on this issue and positioned its Hotline as a go-to resource. Campaign results:

127.4M

impressions generated through earned and paid media

74.5M

PR impressions

665

articles, features and posts

More than 4.5 hours

TV and Radio interviews and features

37

spokesperson interviews

2,040

Hotline mentions

Please Contact us if your brand wants to cut through the clutter and make trending, national news that differentiates you in the Canadian marketplace. We’d love to help support your brand by creating an innovative PR strategy that inspires and changes minds.

  • Featured

    Kia Canada: #KiaElectricSound

    A one-of-a-kind EV gets an electrifying one-of-a-kind launch

    View details
  • Featured

    The Cashmere Collection: Fashion With Compassion

    How do you keep Cashmere’s annual CSR program fresh for more than 17 years? Be original, creative and caring, that’s how!

    View details
  • A&W: Burgers to Beat MS

    A high-profile ambassador and dynamic experiential activation gave this tried-and-true CSR campaign new life.

    View details
Featured

Kia Canada: #KiaElectricSound

A one-of-a-kind EV gets an electrifying one-of-a-kind launch

View details
Featured

The Cashmere Collection: Fashion With Compassion

How do you keep Cashmere’s annual CSR program fresh for more than 17 years? Be original, creative and caring, that’s how!

View details

A&W: Burgers to Beat MS

A high-profile ambassador and dynamic experiential activation gave this tried-and-true CSR campaign new life.

View details

We’re great listeners

Let's talk about your goals, your consumers, and how we'll connect the two.