Advocacy of trafficking campaigns: A controversy story
Keywords:Social advertising, institutional campaigns, controversy, prostitution, sexual exploitation, trafficking, public sphere, public affairs
The construction, visualization, and stabilization of public problems require the mobilization of civil society groups concerned about these issues to actively engage in the demand for actions and policies. This paper explores the institutional campaigns against human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Spain between 2008 and 2017 and their role in helping to shape this issue as a matter of public concern. Our aim is to identify the ideological basis of these campaigns through their representations of predominant actors, which have been systematized to identify possible mistakes and to help determine more effective actions with a greater capacity for mobilization. We applied a mixed content analysis combined with a semiotic model to evaluate the presence or absence of the different actors and their relevance in each case. Several lines of discourse have been reiterated across the 50 campaigns analysed: Curbing the demand for prostitution as a priority objective; the centrality of victims in the representations; the role of the consumer of paid sex as an accomplice to the crime; and the correlation between prostitution and human trafficking. We will also examine how these issues relate to the broader dispute on the status of prostitution in Spain. This will require a conceptual shift away from educational and social-oriented communication towards the structural causes, collective responsibility and transformative justice frameworks..