The fight against human trafficking: Advertising students support DRPS initiative

By Lauren Crummey and Raphael Maturine

When students Lauren Crummey and Raphael Maturine registered for DC’s Advertising and Marketing Communications program, they never imagined they’d be collaborating with Durham Regional Police Services (DRPS). Set to graduate this spring, Lauren and Raphael can add particularly rewarding work experience to their resume, after helping to create and design human trafficking awareness cards for the DRPS Human Trafficking Unit (HTU).

The project, supported by Dawn Salter, professor in DC’s School of Media, Art & Design, challenged students to create salon-like cards that would be distributed to local hotels throughout Durham Region to assist potential victims and members of the community by providing them with information and contacts for various support services dedicated to eliminating human trafficking.

DRPS has been an ongoing partner of the program since 2019. Read more about this important initiative online.

Students Lauren and Raphael share what it was like to take part in such an important initiative in the interview below.

What made you decide to study Advertising and Marketing?

RAPHAEL: After graduating from the joint Art & Art History program at the University of Toronto and Sheridan College in 2016 and working in various creative roles for non-profit organizations, I knew it was time for further professional growth. With this in mind, I decided to pursue the Advertising and Marketing program at Durham College, which has proven to be a highly rewarding experience.

LAUREN: I originally planned to go into social work, but after completing Durham College’s Broadcasting - Radio and Contemporary Media and Public Relations programs, I was looking for something to compliment both programs. My sister is a graphic designer, so naturally the Advertising and Marketing program fit perfectly creating a media communications trio.

What was the most enjoyable part of this project? What was the most challenging?

RAPHAEL & LAUREN: The most enjoyable part of this project was getting to put together a piece that could make an impact in someone's life. The challenging part was to not let emotions overwhelm the project because of the subject matter. Sourcing the most appropriate imagery and concept to disguise the information was also a challenge.

How has working on this project helped you grow? What have you gained from working on a real-life community issue, one as serious as the fight against human trafficking?

RAPHAEL & LAUREN: This project has helped us grow in terms of creative thinking and uncovering ways to apply our skills in our own community. Having both grown up in the Durham Region, working on a real-life community issue has opened our eyes to the larger picture, while considering its impact close to home. Through this piece, we have gained valuable knowledge and information about human trafficking that we can use to help raise awareness.

What were you surprised to learn while working on this initiative?

RAPHAEL & LAUREN: We were surprised to learn about the human trafficking signs and statistics that are happening within the Durham Region, and how it’s not an issue that’s often discussed publicly. We learned that there are so many silent fights taking place in our communities in need of support.

With graduation approaching, how has working on this project prepared you for your career?

RAPHAEL & LAUREN: This project allowed us to apply organizational skills, such as file handling and deadline expectations, in preparation for the future workplace. Our creative skills were also put to use through the conceptual creation and design work for the hotel card. Completing this through our Campus Media Production course also prepared us for the future of real-life client relations. Plus, with the support of our program coordinator, Dawn Salter, we received constant feedback and learned how to manage deliverables.

Final Words: We would like to extend a huge thanks to Dawn for taking on such an ambitious project and the Durham Regional Police Services for having the confidence in Durham College’s Advertising and Marketing Communications students. Without community support, initiatives like this would not be possible. We’re hopeful our work will shed light on the ongoing issue of human trafficking and help future victims in need.