C-FAM Continues to Miss an Opportunity to Fight Trafficking

After writing last week about a seemingly dishonest attempt from C-FAM to campaign against human trafficking, their follow-up email for that campaign this week appears to confirm my suspicions.

It is the same email from last week, recycled in its entirety, with two small changes: a list of “progress” items at the front, and a change in the number of signatures needed at the bottom. But Austin Ruse didn’t spend too much time on even those changes – he updated how many signatures they had received, but he forgot to update how many they needed. Or did he?

It still says they need “50,000 more and we need it fast," same as last week. Do they need those signatures for the campaign, or do they just need some more email addresses for their mailing list? Considering that C-FAM has been on a “serious” fundraising kick for the past month, every email they can get on that list might translate into another person opening their pocketbooks, either now or in the future.

But as for that campaign against trafficking… I mean, prostitution. Wait – what exactly is the issue here? Austin Ruse certainly hasn’t made it clear. His campaign is against “World Cup Prostitution.” In his list of successes in the past week, he says that the campaign against “sex trafficking” is growing. Does he think they’re the same thing?

In my post last week, I suggested that this whole scheme looks like a political grandstanding opportunity for C-FAM. Now, I would add to that possibility that the reality of human trafficking throughout the world, and the likely increase in human trafficking for forced sex work in Germany during the World Cup, appear like they are being haphazardly exploited in order to build up C-FAM’s mailing list and feed their own machine. If we were still living in an era without email, this would look like a classic direct marketing ploy.

This campaign never had a hope of affecting policy in any meaningful way because it was initiated too late to affect the influx of sex workers into Germany. And after putting out a clarion call stating the desperate need to have 50,000 names on his list by this week, Austin Ruse is shy of that mark by about 35,000, leaving his shoddy work even less likely of making an impact (according to his own stated numbers).

And while he wastes the time of 15,000 people who care about these issues with a doomed "campaign," human trafficking continues around the globe. I’m glad that groups like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the US State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons are working on this issue. If Ruse really cared about the victims of these crimes, perhaps he’d point his mailing lists to these people who are doing real work to end trafficking.

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