With a hard-hitting TV commercial (‘The trade’) produced in partnership with Alberton Child Welfare, advertising agency Lowe Bull Johannesburg is raising awareness of the under-reported issue of human trafficking.
“Human trafficking affects us all directly and indirectly, and ordinary South Africans are often unaware that we support this trade that manifests in different forms,” explains Sylvia Swart, head of account management at Lowe Bull JHB. “Only sexual exploitation is criminalised because of inconsistent law enforcement, so with that in mind, we focused on the exploitation of children for begging.”
‘The trade’ skillfully demonstrates how the public’s intention to give back and help often becomes misguided and abused by criminals. This encourages the further exploitation of children via a shadowy underworld of kingpins and dealers. By tracking the ‘journey’ of two young children (siblings) from when they are kidnapped off the streets, sold to a dealer, and then forced to beg for money roadside, the commercial illustrates how truly vulnerable children are to abuse in South Africa.
“There has definitely been an influx of child beggars on the streets in Johannesburg over the past two weeks as the Christmas season approaches, so it is very important to get this message out now,” explains Elmarie Kennedy, director of Child Welfare South Africa Alberton.
“This PSA touches on nearly all of the major issues, from abduction to trafficking, begging and the abuse of children – and it has a strong emotional impact on viewers,” she adds.
The commercial combines beautiful images with harsh content, and is layered with emotionally gripping music and hints of carefully selected sound design. Tying it all together is the little girl’s honest voice full of hope, as she tells her dark story.
‘The trade’ recently won in the following categories at the M-Net TAG Awards: Best Concept; Best Script; Best Directing; Best Editor; Best Sound and Best Overall. First introduced in 1999, the TAG Awards seek to reward South Africa's filmmaking talent while providing exposure to social causes and charities via Public Service Announcements (PSAs) as the competition genre.