Bold new public awareness campaign Can You See Me? highlights ‘hidden in plain sight’ reality that underlies modern-day slavery in South Africa.
A new approach in the fight against modern-day slavery launches in South Africa in August, as global anti-human trafficking organisation A21, with support from Intercape, Pick n Pay, Western Cape Local Government and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) rolls out a multi-platform media campaign designed to heighten public awareness of human trafficking across key locations and transportation hubs nationwide.
Can You See Me?, a series of confronting videos, billboards, posters and educational materials, depicts scenarios of the most common forms of modern-day slavery, and empowers members of the public who suspect human trafficking activity to call the South African National Human Trafficking Hotline. “We have seen such clear recruitment trends and methods of exploitation over the years in South Africa and we are excited to finally have these unpacked in locally made videos. This kind of information in the hands of the public has the power to drastically change the face of human trafficking in South Africa” says Rene Hanekom, Human Trafficking Hotline Manager.
Katie Modrau, A21 Country Manager comments on the campaign, “By giving the public a real picture of how human trafficking happens locally, you are taking power away from trafficking rings by reducing the ‘invisible’ nature of the crime. With this campaign, the public will not only be able to recognise a victim of trafficking when they cross paths, but that they will be able to protect themselves from falling prey to this atrocity themselves. According to the Global Slavery Index (2018), 54% of South Africans are vulnerable to human trafficking schemes, so public awareness is key. ‘
The videos and campaign posters will be visible at local clinic waiting rooms in Western Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal, on Intercape busses, and a variety of other prominent public spaces around the country. In addition, the campaign will be spread across all major social networks. Current partners of the campaign include the Western Cape Departments of Health, Social Development, Local Government, Education, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), Pick n Pay, Intercape, and some national NGO’s including STOP TRAFFIC and the National Freedom Network.
Suzanne Ackerman-Berman Director of Transformation at Pick n Pay said, “Human trafficking is a dark reality which cannot remain hidden or unspoken about any longer. We are honored to partner with A21 in their drive to bring the issue to light. It is only through creating awareness of trafficking, that communities, schools and business will be able to take a stand in the fight against modern-day slavery”
When the Can You See Me? campaign was tested in the pilot area of Kent and Essex in the U.K., the U.K’s National hotline received a 300% increase in calls from members of the public to the police over six months. The campaign is still live in airports throughout the UK including Heathrow and Gatwick. It is also widely seen across the U.S in transportation hubs and airports.
“Can You See Me? is designed to empower members of the public in the fight against human trafficking,” said Christian Elliott, Global Development Director, A21. “Everyone has an innate sense of suspicion; we all know when we’ve observed something that doesn’t seem right, but often it doesn’t feel worthy of a call to the police. This campaign exists to fill that space between people’s suspicion and a police investigation. Gathering small pieces of information that together could corroborate a police investigation makes all the difference.”
Anyone who suspects human trafficking activity should call the South African National Human Trafficking Hotline on 0800 222 777 or give an online tip off at 0800222777.org.za.