Nova Scotia Group Creates Ads to Humanize Sex Workers

This isn’t actually new, but I only recently came across this ad campaign from Stepping Stones Nova Scotia via Sociological ImagesStepping Stone is a not-for-profit charitable organization offering supportive programs and outreach to women, men, and transgender sex workers and former sex workers. Their website states they are “the only organization in the Maritimes that deals specifically with street life and sex work from a harm reduction model”.

The ad campaign is designed to tackle some of the stigma surrounding sex workers, to humanize by pointing out in the bottom tagline, “Sex Workers are Daughters (Brothers/Mothers) Too.” Margo at Sociological Images notes:

Stepping Stone’s executive director, Rene Ross, points out that every time a prostitute is killed—sex workers have a mortality rate 40 times higher than the Canadian national average—media accounts emphasize that the victim was a prostitute, but not that she (or he) was also a mother, daughter, friend or, for example, animal lover.

The motivation behind the ads is laudable, but the shocking language in the headings, using terms like “tramp” and “hooker” means it’s going to be controversial. Margo at Sociological Images wonders whether it’ll end up having the unintended effect of turning sex workers into a punchline. On the other side, a marketing professor quoted by Rabble said he thought the shock value was a good strategy to get people to really take a look at the issue.

Now that it’s been a few months since the ads were released (they came out in July), does anyone know how they were received in Nova Scotia? Does anyone have thoughts about the advertising tactics?