Friday, April 20, 2012

a cheap holiday in other people's misery

Unbelievably there are over 2 million (possibly even up to 4 million) men, women and children trafficked across borders - and within their own countries - every year.

These people are bought, sold and transported into slavery for sexual exploitation, sweat shops, child brides, circuses, sacrificial worship, forced begging, sale of human organs, farm labour, domestic servitude.

That last quote comes from STOP THE TRAFFIK - originally set up as a 2 year project in 2000 but now grown into a full blown international movement dedicated to bringing about the end of human trafficking.

This clip is from Amsterdam's red light district, where every year thousands of young women who think they are going to the 'Dam or elswhere to work as dancers end up doing something rather different.

This is a splendid and effective piece of détournement - a variation on a previous media , in which the newly created one has a meaning that is antagonistic or antithetical to the original. The original media work that is détourned must be somewhat familiar to the audience, so that it can appreciate the opposition of the new message.

The silence at the end of the clip as the spectators, even in their own passivity, have been forced into realising they are not in fact spectators but participants is eerie.

A stunt that that incriminates its audience - they are participants even though they imagine they are not.

It's moments like these that show the potential power of advertising as a force for good.

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