Beyond Slavery Debates & Roundtables

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'Campaigns to raise public awareness of human trafficking may have flaws, but their overall impact is positive. YES OR NO?'

Elena Shih and Joel Quirk (eds)

Campaigners, activists and government officials spend much of their time and energy crafting messages that are designed to win specific audiences over to their cause. The main goal behind these messages is to ‘raise awareness’ of specific problems or issues, and to offer target audiences with potential solutions or remedies.

Human trafficking awareness campaigns intend to inspire both individuals and institutions to ‘do something’ (there is even a campaign called DoSomething.org). While taking action against injustice is undoubtedly a laudable impulse, the ‘something’ in question is by no means as straightforward as it might first appear. Thus while awareness campaigns may well reach large audiences, are they teaching their audiences the right things?

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Related Feature: Can awareness-raising prevent exploitation?

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