Awareness campaigns can change perceptions and motivate people to join in the fight to prevent and respond to the trafficking of children. Here are some items to consider when planning and developing an awareness campaign.
Put together your team. Think about the strengths of your staff and your partners – Is there someone on your staff who is especially good at creating flyers and getting them out to people? Is there someone who is really engaged with the youth? Invite that person to join your team. Other important people you may want to include could be men, elders, youth, and someone from the cultural protection department.
Decide which audience(s) you would like to target. Your awareness campaign might have many audiences. The “Never in Season” campaign in South Dakota targets two main audiences — hunters that visit the area seasonally and bikers who attend local rallies — because those are the two main gatherings where trafficking is an issue. Who do you want to reach?
Decide what actions you want your audience to take. What do you want your community to do as a result of seeing your campaign? Provide funding to respond to trafficking? Spot signs of trafficking and know what to do when they suspect a child has been trafficked? Talk to an adult if they think a friend might be in trouble? Deciding what actions you want your audience to take will help you tailor your message.
Determine your community’s need. Learn about sex trafficking in your area and try to tailor the message to fit your community’s specific needs. Visit Polaris for a searchable database of statistics from the National Human Trafficking Hotline, and data specific to child trafficking and child welfare. Is your community ready to receive your message? Learn more about a Community Readiness Model through the Tri-Ethnic Center.
Use messages that will resonate with your audience. If you create posters or other media, is there any language or imagery specific to your community that will strike a chord with your audience? An infographic example from the Lakota Law Project Report shows how data can quickly be expressed on a flyer.
Use what is available from your community partners. Have any of your partners created flyers or other materials you can use? The Office of Victims of Crime has created some tools that can be filled out to include your agency’s contact information.
Determine what forms of communication would work best to reach your target audience. Would it be best to put flyers up in community areas? Play short videos in waiting rooms? Utilize social media? Mail postcards? You may want to use a combination of channels to deliver your message.
Create a timeline. Set a time limit on your campaign so you remember to assess its effectiveness and make revisions.
Develop a response plan. Have a plan in place in case someone sees the campaign and reveals sensitive information or is triggered. Your agency should have a protocol to rely upon.