Survey drives awareness of modern-day slavery

Slavery Footprint, which works to end human trafficking and modern-day slavery, hired PKPR to launch its flagship initiative.

Client: Slavery Footprint (Oakland, CA)
Agency: PKPR (New York)
Campaign: Slavery Footprint
Duration: September 22 to December 23, 2011
Budget: $15,000

The nonprofit Slavery Footprint, which works to end human trafficking and modern-day slavery, hired PKPR to launch its flagship initiative in collaboration with the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Founder Justin Dillon, a musician, was inspired to action after witnessing the issue firsthand while touring.

“The campaign [began] to raise consumer awareness that slavery is involved from the beginning of supply chains,” Dillon explains. “The question ‘how many slaves work for you?' was the simple hook. Outing companies isn't the intention. It's not an activist ploy or stunt. It's about a conversation that starts with the consumer.”

Goals included driving 150,000 people to take a survey illustrating the connection between consumer lifestyle and slavery on by September 22, 2013.

Luis CdeBaca, director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, announced the launch on the 149th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).

Media outreach and social media engagement drove awareness.

“The key was making this complex topic accessible,” explains agency president Patrick Kowalczyk. “We did that by [pointing out] that almost every product has slavery involved in its supply chain.”

CdeBaca announced the launch at a CGI press conference on September 22.

Broad media outreach focused on business reporters helped tell the big-picture story. Niche outreach targeted outlets covering tech, food, the environment, and parenting, as well as mommy bloggers. Pitches highlighted connections between slavery and products that are relevant to each audience.

Dillon's personal story was also pitched.

Coverage was shared on Twitter and Dillon reached out to celebrities to help spread the word.

The website has gotten more than 2 million visits.

“We blew by the goal of 150,000 surveys taken in the first few weeks,” Dillon says. “We expected site visitors to spend an average of five minutes. As of December 31, the average time was 8.5 minutes. We also expected traffic mostly from English-speaking countries, but we've had massive sign-ins from Germany, France, Brazil, and Italy.”

Ending December, more than 250 stories had run worldwide in outlets such as The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal,, Toronto Star, and The Guardian, CNN Money, Wired, Fast Company,, and The Consumerist.

Dillon “would love to” work with PKPR again when budgeting allows. The in-house team continues media outreach, is promoting a “Free World” mobile app, and preparing for fall events.

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