Johannesburg - Saatchi and Saatchi South Africa has joined forces with the International Organization for Migration's (IOM) Southern African Counter-Trafficking Assistance Programme (SACTAP) to create a hard-hitting message aimed at raising awareness of human traffickers operating on the continent.
Based on research in the region since 2002, IOM believes that trafficking in persons is flourishing in Southern Africa, with South Africa and its expanding sex industry the main destination for trafficked women in the region.
IOM estimates that at least 1,000 women are trafficked from Mozambique each year into South Africa, with poverty a huge factor in their susceptibility. IOM is also aware of women trafficked to South Africa from South East Asia, Eastern Europe and other African countries.
The tv ad conveys the chilling duplicity of human traffickers and was flighted on SABC1, SABC2, SABC 3 and e-tv in primetime slots, as well as CNN and BBC World on DSTV, which broadcasts throughout Southern Africa.
The story focuses on a young rural African woman who is lured to travel to South Africa with the false promise of a modelling career. The woman is not aware of her trafficker's deceptive ploys, but the audience is alerted through a series of subliminal phrases that appear around her - in text on a passing taxi and via graffiti on a wall, for example.
These subtitles reveal the truth: the girl is being trafficked into?forced prostitution. The advert features IOM's counter-trafficking helpline for South Africa - 0800 555 999 - and IOM hopes the advert will help reach and assist more victims.
Saatchi & Saatchi's Johannesburg Creative Director, Liam Wielopolski, says an enormous amount of corporate goodwill has driven the advertisement's development and expanded the scale of its play: "Production house Fresh-Eye Productions, SABC and ETV were brought on board, making significant in-kind contributions to support the cause.
"We were all touched by the work being done by IOM and the difference they make to women who are trapped in appalling conditions."
Karen Blackman, SACTAP's Information and Awareness Raising Specialist, says: "This poignant advert captures the evil reality of human trafficking and how ruthless traffickers shatter the hopes and dreams of their victims.
"Human trafficking is happening in Southern Africa today, but awareness levels are worryingly low. We hope that this advert will raise awareness levels and increase calls to our counter-trafficking helpline. This has been a dynamic partnership with Saatchi and Saatchi and IOM wishes to thank them and everyone else who dedicated their incredible talents to this project."
The 30 second ad, directed by Amy Allais, was screened a total of 94 times during a two weeks period, provoking an unprecedented level of contact with the Human Trafficking call centre. They are now receiving over 100 calls a day, way beyond the normal 50 or so a week.