El Paso is annually listed as one of the safest cities in the nation, so when the El Paso offices of the Junior League and FBI made us aware that human sex trafficking was on the rise in our community, we were shocked. They came to us for help in developing an awareness campaign aimed at opening eyes and inspiring vigilance from the community. Needless to say, we were happy to join this worthwhile fight to create a lasting and impactful message.
When most people hear the phrase human trafficking, they think about darkened alleys in faraway places. The reality is that human sex trafficking has moved out of the shadows and into our suburbs. The more that we learned, we quickly realized that this growing epidemic usually begins with a seemingly innocent relationship that quickly devolves into manipulation, coercion and even violence. To make an impact, we knew that our messaging and visuals had to wake up and shake up our viewers. In that interest, we developed the creative theme of Break The Chain. This was a charge to our audience to disrupt the cycle of abuse and violence by reporting any suspicious activity that they saw or even sensed. By presenting our community as the first line of defense we empowered them to the idea that they could truly make a difference and prevent one more victim.
We brought this concept to life with a gritty and gripping visual campaign that focused on a young teen girl in a domestic suburban setting. The idea was to normalize the setting, instantly communicating that this could happen anywhere and to anyone. Our visual metaphor was brought to life as we saw flashes of the young girl in chains, an overt reference to the psychological bonds that many of these victims face.
After an emotional shoot, we were able to come away with a powerful campaign that opened eyes and started a conversation. Happily, this campaign has garnered attention from victim advocacy groups across the nation and we hope that our message can continue to spread and do the most good.