The Operation Pentameter, a campaign against human trafficking in the UK by The London Metropolitan Police
Human trafficking around the world is the second biggest crime problem after drugs. In 2005, the campaigns published up to that moment were few, disconnected from each other and in English, a language that many of the victims do not understand. Also, they were not in sight of them.
While studying Visual Design Communication postgraduate at the London College of Communication I decided that one of my electives should be to use my experience in advertising agencies to develop a campaign to help a non-profit organisation. So I got in touch with two London Metropolitan Police officers in charge of the anti-human trafficking operation called Pentameter and we started a multi-month collaboration; learning about the problem, the victims and the solutions. I needed a Copywriter and a photographer who wanted to collaborate and, like me, did it for free, so I was lucky to meet Vineet Raheja and Christian Sinibaldi, who respectively helped me with the copy and the photographs.
Over the next few months we got to work with Vineet creating a campaign that was highly visible, clear, easy to understand at a single glance, and that would encourage victims to call or contact a police officer. After having the concept, I took it for approval by the officers in charge of the campaign and I got in touch with Christian, with whom we saw a portfolio of actors and models to include in the campaign. It was agreed with the client that the models should be paid, as their image would be compromised on the posters. After choosing them and selecting the locations, we did the photoshooting during a very cold night in London. With the photos already ready, the copy made and the concept approved, I started to create the layout of the posters. These were the results.
Posters were made with different language versions: Russian, Polish, Romanian, Latvian, Lithuanian to cover most of the destinations where the victims come from.
They were displayed in airports such as: Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton and Stansted. They were also posted at the Eurostar train station and Victoria Coach Station. More were then printed, edited and shipped to Ireland where they were placed in air and land terminals.
The campaign was all over the news, especially on BBC TV and in its website.
The Irish police asked our permission to use the campaign posters on their territory.
We received an acknowledgment from the chief of police in charge of the operation in the form of a box with his signature and a photo of our poster surrounded by many smiling officers. Something that filled us with great satisfaction.
The posters were kept for many years in stations and airports. Some are still there and from what we know they have helped some potential victims to contact the police.
It is a difficult task because there are many factors at play, inside and outside the country and I know that a single poster cannot stop the problem but at least it tries to show it more clearly.
Campaign in different languages
Some samples of the posters in Lithuanian and Latvian.