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Permanent link (DOI): https://doi.org/10.7939/R3F18SM96

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Project Backpage: Using text messaging to initiate outreach support for victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation Open Access

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Author or creator
Gordon A. Gow
Additional contributors
Subject/Keyword
text messaging
mobile phones
Backpage.com
Internet
sexual exploitation
outreach communication
human trafficking
SMS
Type of item
Journal Article (Draft-Submitted)
Language
English
Place
Canada, Alberta, Edmonton
Time
Description
The use of the Internet and online advertising for solicitation by sex workers has created new challenges for community organizations attempting to reach victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation through traditional outreach strategies. Until recently, prostitution occurred primarily on the street and outreach was typically initiated through direct face-to-face contact. In this paper we describe the design and outcome of a multi-phase community-university collaboration in Edmonton, Canada, to explore the use of SMS text messaging to initiate outreach with individuals advertising on the adult services section of the website Backpage.com. The paper describes the impetus behind the project, the project goals and design, as well as results thus far. We also reflect on the results and present a set of emerging best practices, including the contribution of two-way text-based interaction for establishing trust between outreach organizations and the individuals seeking support. Overall, results from the project provide evidence to show that SMS is a cost-effective and important complementary communication strategy for outreach organizations seeking to initiate outreach to victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
Date created
2014/09/01
DOI
doi:10.7939/R3F18SM96
License information
Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0 Unported
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