Indiana Unites to Combat Human Trafficking in Statewide Outdoor Campaign
Restored, Polaris, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, Law Enforcement and Members of the Outdoor Ad Industry Lead Effort to Raise Awareness, Help Victims and Stop Human Trafficking
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – March 11, 2015 – Restored, Polaris, Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CCO), and members of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Indiana, together with Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller local, state and federal law enforcement, including; Indianapolis Metro Police Department, Indiana State Police, FBI and Homeland Security Investigations today unveiled a campaign to combat human trafficking with outdoor media throughout the State of Indiana. Beginning today and running through April 6, educational messages about human trafficking will be displayed on 35 digital billboards across Indiana.
“Human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that affects women, children, and men in every state throughout the year. The cases reported to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) from Indiana are just the tip of the iceberg, so these billboards are critical to ensuring victims and survivors know there is help when they need it,” said Bradley Myles, CEO of Polaris. “The commitment of organizations like Restored, the State of Indiana, and Indiana’s digital billboard industry is indispensable as we work together to eradicate modern slavery.”
Human trafficking is a thriving criminal industry, with traffickers making billions in profits by using force, fraud, or coercion to rob victims of their freedom. The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking worldwide, with victims forced to provide commercial sex, labor, or services against their will. And it’s a problem in Indiana and throughout the U.S. 365 days a year.
“Indiana aims to be a leader in human trafficking awareness and prevention,” Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said. “The average age at which children are first recruited into commercial sex is 13. These horrific crimes target our most vulnerable citizens, and we can no longer turn a blind eye. Our goal is to provide resources and a safety net to victims to stop this cycle of abuse as well as reduce the demand for commercial sex that fuels human trafficking.”
The campaign will inform trafficking victims who may be unaware that resources exist to help them, as well as urge residents who can help identify and report suspicious activity. Members of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Indiana (OAAI), including; Burkhart Advertising Company, Clear Channel Outdoor, JR Promotions, Lamar Advertising Company, Outfront Media and View Outdoor LLC are donating the digital billboard time and space. The ads feature the NHTRC’s 24-hour, multi-lingual and confidential hotline for victims and community members.
“Human trafficking is found in our own communities regardless of socio-economic status. In Indiana, we find foster care children and runways are extremely vulnerable to the commercial sex industry. Within the IPATH Task Force, Restored collaborates with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to recover and provide a safe haven and a path for healing. Restored is grateful to be partnering with the digital billboard industry and Polaris as we work to unveil a hidden epidemic in our society. We believe this partnership is a major step in providing awareness, advocacy and victim recognition within our communities,” said Tracy McDaniel, CEO/Founder, Restored.
Polaris and Clear Channel Outdoor (CCO) have forged a national partnership to combat human trafficking with campaigns in cities across America. CCO launched its first anti-human trafficking campaign alongside Polaris in Philadelphia in 2012 and has since supported campaigns with Polaris and/or local partners in Baltimore, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, New Jersey, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, and across the entire state of Texas. This is CCO’s 16th anti-human trafficking campaign and the data show that these campaigns drive calls to the hotline, including tips and requests by victims for help. The program was expanded beyond the Indianapolis area through partnerships and the cooperation of other out-of-home advertising operators across Indiana.
“We are proud to be part of such an important campaign to raise awareness of human trafficking in Indiana and beyond. Billboards and other outdoor media are a powerful way to reach people while also targeting specific audiences, and Clear Channel has a long history of working with law enforcement, government agencies and nonprofits on myriad public safety and community building initiatives.” said Brett Beshore, president, CCO-Indianapolis. “Modern slavery is a pervasive scourge that affects all of us in all of our communities. Knowing there is help and a safe place to go is an important first step in surviving slavery, so we all hope this Indiana campaign will be a strong and visible step forward in the fight against this important problem.”
The National Human Trafficking Resource Center, operated by Polaris, is a confidential, toll-free lifeline for victims and survivors of human trafficking to reach out for help and for people to anonymously report tips of suspected human trafficking. People can call the NHTRC at 1-888-373-7888 or send a text to Polaris at BeFree (233733), 24 hours-a-day, every day of the year. With bilingual staff, the hotline is available in English and Spanish, and in more than 180 languages through the use of interpreters.
Polaris is a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery. Named after the North Star that guided slaves to freedom in the U.S., Polaris acts as a catalyst to systemically disrupt the human trafficking networks that rob human beings of their lives and their freedom. By working with government leaders, the world’s leading technology corporations, and local partners, Polaris equips communities to identify, report, and prevent human trafficking. Our comprehensive model puts victims at the center of what we do – helping survivors restore their freedom, preventing more victims, and leveraging data and technology to pursue traffickers wherever they operate. Learn more at www.polarisproject.org.
Restored encounters children and young women who have been extorted through sex trafficking and exploitation. Restored provides an avenue to find restoration by providing direct care services, support groups, and a future aftercare facility. We raise awareness and provide advocacy in hopes of eradicating human sex trafficking in Indiana. Restored provides the following victim services; trauma Informed outreach case management, emergency housing referrals, trauma counseling/ PTSD, legal services, safety planning, food/clothing and individualized services through Restored and local community partners. Learn more at www.restoredinc.org.
Jason D. King