A message in the skies about the threat of sex traffickers

For many, the dangers of sex trafficking may feel distant, but in reality, sex traffickers can reach into most homes, anywhere and anytime, using the privacy of social media direct messaging.

One study found that 55% of trafficking victims met their predator in social platforms. So The Jensen Project, a U.S. non-profit dedicated to ending sexual violence, partnered with No Fixed Address to raise awareness of that danger, and chose the skies above Dallas and Houston to do so.

On two days last week, skywriting planes spelled out some of the cryptic messaging used by traffickers—like “How Old R U?” and “Leave and I’ll find you”—to capture attention before directing people to an educational website. Intended for young women and their parents, the site explains the four stages of trafficking and what to be aware of online. Texas is the number two state for sex trafficking in the U.S, while Dallas is one of the top 10 cities.

“Sex trafficking is happening in cities across the country and the more it happens, the closer to home it gets.” said Janet Jensen, founder and executive director of The Jensen Project. “To stop this epidemic, we need to be able to spot it.”

NFA started working with The Jensen Project in part because of its other work to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse in recent years (including this and this), while CFO Anna Gomez, has been on The Jensen Project’s board for two years.

“While some may not understand the severity of this issue, we’re providing them a glimpse of what it might look and how close it can be by writing real and common trafficker messages above neighbourhoods in one of America’s largest trafficking hubs,” said Alexis Bronstorph, NFA’s chief creative officer.

David Brown