Salvation Army slammed over Vancouver sex trafficking campaign
VANCOUVER – The salvation army is being slammed over its vivid poster and web campaign depicting sex trade workers as victims of human trafficking and for using migrant workers in some of their ads.
“The depictions of violence used by the Salvation Army in their current campaign to increase public awareness about trafficking in persons in the Canadian context is misleading, debasing to women and nothing short of sensational,” said the Sex Industry Worker Safety Action Group, SIWSAG.
SIWSAG is an advisory body comprised of sex workers, legal experts and Vancouver Police. The group aims to improve the safety of sex trade workers.
Part of the Salvation Army campaign highlights the possibility of increased human trafficking in association with the 2010 Olympics.
“The local campaign, developed without consultation or collaboration with sex workers and sex worker groups, is focused on an alarming depiction of trafficking and sex work, particularly with reference to the 2010 Olympics,” said the organization is a press release forwarded to the media by Vancouver Police.
“Their definition of trafficking is inclusive of all persons working in the sex industry and negates choice as an option for those working in the industry,” said the group.
“The information being disseminated through this campaign is inaccurate and emotionally triggering and is supported by photographs with a disturbing combination of violence and titillation,” it said.
“The SIWSAG believes the campaign contributes to further marginalization, stigmatization and isolation of sex industry workers, and will serve to increase dangers for both trafficked persons and sex industry workers,” said a press release. “Sex workers are not safe in this situation.”
Tamara O’Doherty, chairperson for the group, said the posters and website content run by Salvation Army are insensitive, alarmist and false in suggesting that all sex trade workers are victims of trafficking.
The Salvation Army website, www.thetruthisntsexy.ca also sells T-Shirts carrying the logo “Truth isn’t Sexy. The SIWSAG group says that is self-serving and fund-raising on the back of sex-trade workers who are being falsely depicted.
“In Canada, this year’s focus is on sex trafficking that happens within Canada, and that is expected to increase with the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Our theme is ”More Precious Than Silver”-to link with the Olympics, but also with the idea that victims are people-not merchandise to be bought and sold,” says the Salvation Army sponsored website.
“This year we’re also intentionally trying to get Christians from churches outside of The Salvation Army to join us in prayer. We want to unite with as many believers as possible to pray for victims and ask God to put a stop to human sex trafficking.”