Linkedin halts BBH Barn intern's big idea to raise awareness of sex trafficking in Singapore

Trickedin.jpgUPDATED STORY: LinkedIn has released an official response to the BBH Asia Pacific Barn intern's use of a Linkedin profile to raise awareness of sex trafficking in Singapore. The statement confirms they will not reinstate the account.

"It's really unfortunate news," said Andries Vaisman, one of the BBH interns. "We've shared their statement and included a reply of our own on our blog.

To raise awareness of sex trafficking in Singapore, a group of BBH Asia Pacific Barn interns created a profile on a LinkedIn account based on true stories of victims' experiences. The profile tells the story of the way many women and children are tricked in to the sex trade every year.

Unfortunately, the account was suspended just one day after being released to the public. The Barn interns have now reached out to LinkedIn, (see left) but have yet to receive a response.

Launched in collaboration with the Singaporean nonprofit Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME), TrickedIn was to be a three-week campaign focused on educating the public about the way in which women and children are coerced into illegal sex work against their will. The project uses LinkedIn to tell the story of one woman deceived into taking on debt in her home countries for a jobs that left her stranded in illegal sex work upon arrival in Singapore.
With nearly 800,000 users in Singapore alone, LinkedIn is the most popular social media platform for professionals to share stories about their careers. TrickedIn is the first campaign to leverage this network to connect with those who have the greatest opportunity to amplify the issue nationally. The more connections the profile makes, the more people are informed about the issue.

KimDiya.jpgIn its partnership with HOME, TrickedIn also provides further opportunities for interested users to take action. Interested individuals can visit the project's website to donate to HOME's existing shelter and even sign up to volunteer to support victims in need of direct assistance.

"People don't think that sex trafficking happens in Singapore; we're so clean and strict that even prostitution is regulated. The fact is that Singapore is a popular destination for traffickers to con migrant workers into the sex trade - we felt people need to understand what's going on," said Vera Chung, one of the BBH Barn interns.

Media attention of the issue has increased recently due to the US Department of State's June 2012 Tier 2 rating of Singapore. The ranking puts Singapore in the same category as countries like Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Thailand and others whose governments are making efforts to comply with minimum international standards trafficking. The Singapore government released an anti-trafficking National Plan of Action earlier this year.

For more information visit www.trickedin.com.

18 Comments

Worthy cause said:

Seriously but done by the same agency which is defending the pitch for promoting Your Singapore as a tourist destination?
Good karma.
Bad business.

Good thinking, but said:

you can see why Linked-in freaked out. Would have been better to have notified them up front, and got them behind the project. Their servers, after all. Still not too late to do that?

Marc said:

Your Singapore indeed. Now fetch us another shite Tiger.

Warty Cause said:

Worthy cause..... yes, but STB are probably NOT intent on promoting Singapore as a sex tourist destination? Not really a conflict of interest?

If singapore cleans up it's act (which is probably a thousand times cleaner than Malaysia/Thailand/Cambodia etc) then it becomes an even more attractive destination for the majority of tourists..?

Could look upon it as an agency embracing the whole desire for more transparency and honesty from authorities that Sinagporeans are now demanding

Psst said:

I agree with LinkedIn booting this campaign off their site. It's not right to build your awareness at the expense of another site's reputation. But I guess while chasing an award. people forget that.

PsstOff said:

Psst:
how does it affect Linked In's reputation?
"Whilst chasing an award" - how depressing that so many people in Singapore think that's the only motivation for doing stuff like this, possibly cos that's your motivation Psst? Bit sad. Back to your mean little uncharitable hole.

Marc said:

I mostly offended at all of your lack or overuse of punctuation.

Heidi said:

LinkedIn is for professionals seeking to widen their network among colleagues, past present and future. They sure as hell do not want to see a woman working as a prostitute looking for better opportunities there. (Even if she was forced into it.)

If you could get off your idealistic high horse you will see that this is not mean and uncharitable...it's just prudent business. But what would you know about that. You're a creative, aren't you?

Although... said:

...yes and no. They might have been OK with a fake profile being set up, if asked in advance, because they are much more likely to be more tight-assed about this sort of thing than other social media.

At this point the BBH interns will chorus, 'WTF, bro, you just don't get it, datz why it's a gorilla campane! Duhhh!"

Hello said:

Are there any adults in the barn?Your kids are taking this too far...just because they got a bit of a slapdown from LinkedIn who honoured them with a response doesnt mean they should print it for all to see and start a public argument. Are you trying to embarrass LinkedIn? Do you think they will want to partner with you in future if you do that? It's their site and their rules...just like this one. Think, sheep.

JJ said:

Apparently your idea wouldn't work. Come up with other creative solutions BBH, instead of crying like babies. Weak. No wonder John Hegarty chooses to sell out.

Creative. said:

Yes, apologies expat Heidi, the members of Linked in are simply 'professionals' (and not fully fleshed out feeling human beings) and there's no space on this site for any issues about social concerns etc. I'd write a stern letter to Melinda and Bill Gates and tell them how their foundation is irrelevant and wasteful and they must get back to business, because professionals like you have no time to be distracted from 'business'.

As a prudent professional businessperson, at a junior level, what are you doing on this site anyway?

What do you expect? said:

Interns have more zip and spunk than they know what to do.
That's why senior mentorship is critical.
They need a steady hand on the reins to keep unbridled creativity productively channeled.
I noticed a trend where big agencies have been using interns to feed ideas, project an edgy image and save wage costs.
Even Man U doesn't field its under 18 squad for the big games.

Heidi's Boss said:

You are screwing with LinkedIn's image by putting made up profiles of hookers on their site. In clear contravention of their rules (which you accepted when you created the profile).

Case closed.

Chill said:

Er.... Hello/Jj etc
Coming to this late.... but it appears that linked-in in their response have said they support the cause and are open to other ways of promoting the site and partnering with Home/ Bbh... (didn't you read that bit ? Everyone seems a little quick to critique)

lets see what the Barners do next then - see if they build upon it ?

Perhaps Hello/JJ/What do you expect etc might like to suggest some constructive ideas to help?? For a good cause?
Or maybe just easier

Salome said:

You want some ideas to stamp out sex trafficking.

They don't call it the world's oldest profession for nothing so you have to be a bit clever.

A campaign like this solves nothing except to put in your portfolio and feel nice and warm inside.

You need to educate poor women not to fall for job promises that are too good to be true. (very tough)

You need to get governments to provide education and jobs. (very hard again)

You need to create specific laws and regularly enforce them.

But creating a fake hooker profile in LinkedIn is not gonna do jack.

THE OBVIOUS said:

OK, WILL GET THAT DONE BY NEXT WEEK:
*EDUCATION IN ALL ASIAN COUNTRIES FOR FOR WOMEN AT RISK
*CHANGE GOVT'S ECONOMIC POLICIES TO CREATE MORE EDUCATION AND JOBS(AS THEY PROBABLY AREN'T ATTEMPTING THAT RIGHT NOW)
*HAVE THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM IN MANY COUNTRIES CREATE NEW LAWS - EVEN ALTHOUGH TRAFFICKING ALREADY IS A CRIME
GENIUS.


PERHAPS YOU COULD SOLVE THE HUNGER CRISIS AS WEL.... LET ME GUESS:
HAVE GOVYS GROW MORE FOOD...

Jared said:

Too often, the best solutions are the simplest and most obvious ones. But creatives being creatives will deliberately try to take a long and circuitous route for fear that they are not being creative.

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