Tuesday, November 06, 2007

MTV Streaker Ad

The following commercial was used to raise awareness of trafficking during the 2006 World Cup in Germany. It is a good example of how media can be a powerful tool to catch the public's attention and effectively convey trafficking.

Click here to view the video
*WARNING: The video contains some nudity and disturbing content

We live in a world where information can be distributed to the masses quickly, cheaply and effectively. Within the context of human rights issues like trafficking, this ability to utilize technology empowers those wanting to make a difference by giving them access to a massive audience and offering a number of possibilities from which to convey an idea.

The Internet. Social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace. Socially conscious networking sites like Idealist and Razoo. Youtube. We live in an age where it has never been cheaper or easier to connect to a massive audience.

The opportunity to spread awareness of an issue, collect resources to address it and at the end of the day, make an impact and create positive social change is greater today than ever before thanks to Web 2.0 technology. With creativity, flare and a honed message a 30-second video can shoot around the world and be viewed a million times on the Internet in a week. This is not to say it is easy to achieve this level of popularity. Competition for attention on the Internet is as competitive as in the real world , or even more so since videos and media vying for the public's attention on the Internet encompass a global arena. Also transforming interest into action is another topic entirely.

Vying for eyeballs on the Internet means activists and change makers need to adapt to the rules of the environment. For example, an issue like trafficking is powerful on its own. It is tragic, vile and evil but it can be lost amidst the sea of media that exists today. It is an assumption that many people will automatically be interested in doing something to combat trafficking simply because of the horror and magnitude of the exploitation or because of the fact that slavery still exists today. But this is only an assumption and getting the masses involved is a longtime challenge that I would think activists have been dealing with since the very beginning.

People are busy. They have their own problems to deal with. Some would rather watch Seinfeld or Family Guy or pursue other hobbies than deal with the emotionally heavy issues involved in trafficking. And this is completely understandable. At the same time that technology allows us to do more, the increased levels of productivity can also shrink our free time and make us cling all the more strongly to those things that we truly enjoy doing. For example, I enjoy blogging about trafficking and creating innovative means from which to spread awareness about the issue. I do not expect everyone, or even most people to be the same way. People have their own interests and their individual lives to lead.

Which is why, in order to create that Youtube trafficking video that WILL travel around the world, in order to create that trafficking website that WILL catch the attention of the masses, in order to write that trafficking song that WILL inspire people from different levels of society to get involved and do something, we need to present the issue in different, unexpected forms that will get people to look, listen and learn. We need to have production values on par with what else is out there. Style IS important when dealing with the public. Presentation IS important. Of course you will always be able to attract a motivated, core group with PSA and other traditional means of raising awareness, but the goal is to get the masses involved as well, the people who previously have no connection to the issue or did not know about it.

This is the goal of the Human Trafficking Project: to create art and present the issue of trafficking in various forms, from photography to film to hip-hop, to raise awareness, collect funds and use them to help victims and survivors and the non-governmental organizations that work to support them.

Do you know of other media that portrays trafficking in a meaningful, effective manner? If so send links and I will compile them for a future post.

1 comment:

  1. Hi!

    Was impressed with your blog. Please visit : www.giftasia.in this is the site for United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) We have created some Public Service Videos which are on the site. For example: http://www.giftasia.in/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=125&Itemid=268

    It would be very nice if you could comment on articles on our site or contribute to the discussion forum.