A: She believed the guy with the too-good-to-be-true story.
Q: How did he get in that mess?
A. He clicked on a Craigslist ad.
Q: And why doesn't she just leave?
A: Uh, she's a slave now.
MTV's college station, mtvU, just released a brilliant interactive digital experience called The Backstory, which answers these and many other questions -- and shows exactly what can happen if you too buy the lies that traffickers tell.
The Backstory is the latest component of mtvU's Against Our Will campaign. It was inspired by four James Madison University students who won mtvU's Against Our Will Challenge.
The Backstory interactive experience begins as you read a list of ads that resemble Craigslist posts. Click on one of the ads, titled "No Questions No Papers Just EZ Money," and you'll see the following post:
Free Rent and Money for School in Exchange for Housekeeping.
Large, clean room.
Looking for honest, HARD WORKING person.
Duties: vacuum, dusting, laundry, shop for groceries, and occasional cooking.
Serious Inquiries Only. No Papers Needed. Please call 555-1313 for further information.
Sounds intriguing, right? Harmless enough.
If you were a college student needing some quick cash, you might click on it too.
To find out what happened to the young man who did answer the ad, click on the "backstory" button...and then begins his sad story.
The Backstory doesn't work in all browsers; it worked better for me in Safari than in Firefox, so just check around.
Creativity and awareness
I absolutely love The Backstory and how mtvU has combined a creative, digital experience to educate tweens, teens, and college students about the lies that traffickers tell.
Our goal at Born2Fly is reaching kids before the traffickers do -- so you know I applaud anyone else who's doing that, too.
I also love the mix of creativity, art, and even dance. The videos feature silhouetted reenactments with dancers from Ailey II. They starkly portray the emotions that trafficked victims go through...and why we must make sure no child ever goes through this again.