Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are. ―Benjamin Franklin
Nima was 5 when she and her 3-year-old sister escaped from a life of horrific abuse at the hands of their father. A hollow tree in the woods served as their home, until the rainy season when Nima’s sister became gravely ill. In a frantic effort to save her sister, Nima went to the market to beg for someone to help. To Nima’s relief, her sister was taken in by a family who agreed to care for the sick child. Nima was left on her own, and lived on the streets, until she was taken and used as a domestic slave. Nima was beaten regularly for “poor housekeeping.”
It didn’t take long before the couple decided they could make money by selling Nima to a brothel. She was raped, abused and used daily by men. By the time she reached the age of twelve, Nima was an alcoholic and had given birth to two children. One fateful night, a rescue worker befriended Nima on the streets and eventually helped her escape this nightmare so Nima could receive the physical and emotional care needed to begin healing. Nima is now happily married and leads a program for other girls that have been rescued from slavery.
The number of people just like Nima who are ruthlessly enslaved around the world is heartbreaking and mind boggling. Tragically, most of their stories do not end with freedom. From brothels to private homes to fields and factories, more than 27 million people are living as modern day slaves with little hope of rescue:
A Wake Up Call
I sat dumbfounded hearing this story. Awareness has a strange way of doing that to a person – a lightbulb turns on and you think “How did I not know this before?” It felt like somewhere in the back of my mind I had heard something about this somewhere, but it hadn’t cut through the clutter and planted itself firmly in my reality. Until now. Sitting with my daughter at a Conference for 18-25 year old students my eyes were opened to a reality that I could not just walk away from. I was now responsible for the knowledge I had gained. The 60,000 attendees were challenged to take up the cause of justice and determine to end the scourge of slavery in their generation. CNN covered the gathering (I’m there in the crowd somewhere – it was a powerful night!):
A Campaign and a Crusade
And so, a marketing campaign called the End It Movement was born. It’s an awareness campaign, but isn’t that the same thing? Trying to break through the clutter that surrounds people to get them to focus, even if it’s just for a minute, on a message. The difference? This message, if successful in raising awareness to a level that cuts through the noise and compels people to focus has the potential to truly change the world.
The campaign tactics of the End It Movement are very similar to other mainstream marketing strategies. Take for example the launch – creating buzz from a live venue in the hope that the momentum creates a viral wave. This is Apple’s preferred method of product launch. Another similarity to the Apple strategy is the fact that all branding elements drive the interested party to the End it Movement website, which serves as the hub of information. It is here one can find videos, link directly to organizations fighting to end modern slavery, and be launched to the presence of the movement on the internet via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The branding elements are simple, and are used consistently throughout all touch points. Where this campaign diverges from larger marketing endeavors is budget. The group has no corporate headquarters, no multi-million dollar budget. Media buy consists of one full-page ad in USA Today donated to the group. A college tour has launched to continue to raise the awareness level on campuses across the country. The goal of the movement’s organizers is clear – create maximum impact for minimal investment. They long to make the cause of freedom viral.
It’s a noble mission. So, my question is: Will it work? Is it possible to launch a campaign that can radically change the world for 27 million people on a shoestring budget? What are your thoughts?
Thank you for taking the time to engage in the cause of justice.