In Our Backyard targets Super Bowl audience sharing blitz for hard-hitting ‘Break the Silence’ social media campaign
HOUSTON—Anti-human trafficking campaigners are orchestrating a social media play on Super Bowl Sunday to recruit supporters and shine a spotlight on the realities of sex trafficking.
Action and advocacy group In Our Backyard (IOB, http://inourbackyard.org ) aims to get a quarter of a million views of its new awareness video by the end of the first quarter of the big game between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons, in Houston on Feb. 5, through a social media campaign.
The hard-hitting short “Break the Silence” Thunderclap message features former sex trafficking victims holding signs with things they were told by their traffickers. For one survivor, it was: “I wish a trick would hurry up and kill you.” Another woman was told: “You were made for this life. Men’s pleasures. Sex.”
Sex trafficking occurs “365 days a year in every zip code in America,” the video explains, “but there is hope” —through education, prevention, action, awareness and empowerment efforts, IOB is helping turn the tide.
“Spotlighting the issue is the first step in ending sex trafficking,” said Nita Belles, anti-human trafficking expert and founder of IOB. “All the traffickers ask is that we stay silent, so they can continue to profit off the repeated sale of innocent victims. It’s time to break the silence. Everyone can be a part of the solution by joining our campaign.”
IOB has chosen Super Bowl Sunday for the social media push because of the huge audience the event draws, and the positive reception to the NFL’s anti-domestic violence ad broadcast during last year’s game.
Meanwhile, in the lead-up to Feb. 5, In Our Backyard is working closely with Houston law enforcement officers to aid and assist in the identification and location of suspected traffickers leading up to the Super Bowl, as Belleshas done for the last seven Super Bowls.
“As we anticipated, we’re seeing a bubble of increase in prostitution and human trafficking activity,” said Houston Vice Capt. Dan Harris. “The good thing is, we’re seeing it. We’re looking for it, and we have the assets in place. We’re going to have a lot of presence in the streets, going into hotels, going into the massage parlors, the men’s clubs … over the next 10 days.”
Since 2006, Belles has become widely recognized as a leading voice in the fight against human trafficking. A frequent speaker to law enforcement, medical, civic and community groups, she has also been an adviser on anti-trafficking legislation to legislators in several states, and authored what has been called the primer on human trafficking “In Our Backyard: Human Trafficking in America and What We Can Do to Stop It.”
People can join the “Break the Silence” Thunderclap campaign from the IOB website homepage (www.inourbackyard.org).
IN OUR BACKYARD (www.inourbackyard.org) has been fighting human trafficking in the United States since 2006, working in the areas of education, prevention, action, awareness, and empowerment. Founder and Executive Director Nita Belles regularly speaks to law enforcement, medical, civic, and community groups, and has been an adviser on anti-trafficking legislation to legislators in several states.
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— InChrist Comm. (@InChristComm) February 2, 2017