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Toronto Store Puts Teen Girls Up For 'Sale' To Raise Sex Trafficking Awareness

A shocking new ad campaign definitely got some heads turning in Toronto, Canada, but that's exactly the kind of reaction its organizers were hoping for.

As CTV News reported, several teenage girls were recently put on display behind the glass of a local storefront window in an effort to raise awareness about sex trafficking and start a discussion about its harsh realities.

The entire "Shoppable Girls" campaign is based around a deceptively harmless website.

Shoppable Girls

At first glance, the website, appears just like any other modern online clothing store.

After clicking in, you're met with a page of young girls modelling youthful, casual clothing like beanies, jackets, and track pants.

However, as you scroll down you realize it's not the clothes that are on sale, but the girls themselves.

Shoppable Girls

For instance, 17-year-old Michaela costs $200, as does does Ellie, 15.

"Some things shouldn't be for sale," the teens' product descriptions read. "Across Canada, unsuspecting girls are being lured and forced to sell their bodies to make money for someone else.

"The warning signs can be hard to spot, but knowing them is the first step toward prevention."

Further down the page, you're met with some deeply troubling sex trafficking statistics.

Shoppable Girls

For instance, some unwilling victims of the trade are recruited at as young as 13 years old, and traffickers usually find their victims at malls, parties, bus stations, schools, and online.

To really put the spotlight on trafficking, the girls were actually featured in a local storefront and put up for "sale".

On Thursday, “The Ellie,” “The Amara,” “The Samantha,” “The Maya,” and "The Michaela" all stood quietly behind a glass window on a busy Toronto street and stared out at passers-by for several hours.

“To sex traffickers, girls are just products,” a sign placed in between the teens read. “Unsuspecting girls are being lured into the sex industry and forced to sell their bodies for someone else’s profit.

"It’s called sex trafficking, and it’s happening here at home.”

The campaign was launched by Toronto's Covenant House this week ahead of Human Trafficking Awareness Day on February 22.

The Covenant House is a Canadian agency committed to helping youth who are homeless, at risk, or who have been trafficked.

“It is really important to recognize that 93 percent of [domestic] sex trafficking victims are Canadian citizens,” Covenant House Toronto spokesperson Julie Neubauer told CTV News. “This is something that is happening in Canada, in Toronto and in our province.”

Neubauer said the agency's goal is to start a conversation about sex trafficking that will continue after the campaign is over.

As she explained,

“We need to continue this conversation, we need to continue to build awareness that this issue is happening, to create a dialogue and vocabulary with parents, caregivers and young people so that they can actually understand what sex trafficking is.”

Covenant House offers plenty of readily-available online resources to provide assistance to anyone who's been affected by sex trafficking.

For more information, check out the Covenant House website.

h/t: CTV News