MuchMusic airs a popular prank TV show created by Hallock Healey Entertainment called Scare Tactics. The pranks are, for the most part, harmless. But a while ago, OneChild happened to see an episode of this show entitled Human Auction.
A young woman was tricked by a friend into thinking she was being trafficked, sold into sex slavery!
You can view the episode here: http://youtu.be/k2kH4GCqaiQ
What’s actually scary about this episode is that Bell Media, the owner of the two channels, thinks that this kind of program makes for good entertainment! The episode was sickeningly offensive and insensitive, using an atrocious human rights violation affecting millions of children, women, and men across the world as a gimmick to get some cheap laughs.
After seeing the episode, we quickly mobilized a small group of young people to send messages using the twitter hashtag #humantraffickingshouldneverbeapunchline to Bell Media, declaring that the youth of Canada do not appreciate human trafficking and sexual slavery being turned into an entertainment punch line.
The good news is that your efforts managed to get them to pull the episode.
The bad news is that that isn’t enough. Bell pulled the episode, but they declined our request to proactively address human trafficking as an issue in Canada. In fact, they declined to even just acknowledge that human trafficking is bad! A Bell representative we spoke to said that pulling the episode was “good enough.”
What about the people who have seen the episode already? A quick look through the Youtube comments shows that the vast majority of viewers not only don’t care about human trafficking, but think that sexual slavery is really funny, and that the pranked victim – and sometimes even all victims – deserve it.
Even worse, what if a person who actually was trafficked/is being trafficked had seen the episode? How must they feel knowing Canadian youth are laughing about the misery they endure, laughing at the rape and the torture?
Bell media told us that MuchMusic “lends its voice to raise awareness about important issues relevant to our audience,” and yet they’re choosing to remain silent about an issue that affects us: human trafficking of children, women, and men.
OneChild feels that MuchMusic is in the unique position to influence hundreds of thousands of Canadian youth, and lead the way into a future where human trafficking is taken seriously in Canada.
What scares us is the possibility of Bell Media quietly sweeping this under the rug, but Bell Media has stated that they care what their viewers say. This means YOU have the power to make a Canadian telecom giant stand up and tell the entire country that human trafficking is a terrible crime, and should never be a punch line.
The Think Before You Prank campaign is your opportunity to stand up and shout out for the invisible victims of human trafficking. This is your chance to change how Canadians understand human trafficking.
This is your chance to demand justice for the voiceless and the vulnerable.
Sign the petition at http://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/think-before-you-prank.