SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDELINES FOR VOLUNTEERS
Hello, O.U.R. Volunteers! First off, we want to express our gratitude for the enthusiasm you have in supporting Operation Underground Railroad. You hear this often, but we truly mean that we cannot do this alone. Every time you spread awareness with a shared post, organize a fundraiser or invite your friends to donate, we are steps closer to saving more children. You mean so much to us.
As you are an extension of our voice, we want to offer you these guidelines so we can be on the same page whenever you post about sex trafficking or exploitation, whether on the official O.U.R. Volunteer Facebook Page, or anywhere else on social media.
Before sharing a post, please be mindful of the following guidelines:
1. Is this a reliable source? Is the information correct?
As sex trafficking and exploitation have become more of a buzz topic in the media, various sources love to feed off the hype by using “clickbait” titles and incorrect statistics or statements. Do you recognize the news
source? Where are they getting their information? Is the story purely controversial? Have you checked to see if other organizations use that statistic with a cited source? Multiple news articles sharing the same statistic without a cited source is not a reliable source.
One of the best ways to verify if a source is credible is to first check the URL. Does it end in “.com”, “.org”, “.gov” ‘.edu”? Websites that end in .edu, .gov, .org are actual educational establishments, government websites, and organizations. It is easier to trace where they get their information from, unlike websites that end it .com, where anyone can create a domain with the ending .com and publish any information they want factual or not (such as a blog). That is not to say every website that ends in .edu, .gov, .org has the most reliable information. Finding the information on more than one website (ending in .edu,.org.,.gov) can help verify the source.
Here is an article that gives in-depth information on how to verify media sources.
2. Will this edify other readers? Or does it dwell too much on the negative? You will find our messaging on the official O.U.R. social media channels, which focuses on the light. We recognize the harsh realities of
sex trafficking and sexual exploitation, but we always circle back to the hope and success of the fight. If you’d like to share a statistic that you find shocking, but would encourage people to take action, be sure to verbalize a positive call to action in your post.
3. Is the photo I’m posting causing more fear, or hope?
We avoid the use of dark imagery – this coincides with #2. Do not post graphic, frightening, sensational, or offensive images to portray child trafficking- such as photos of children in chains, children crying or sitting in dark corners. These are only some examples of dark imagery we do not use. In our years of working in anti-trafficking, we have found that fearful messaging and imagery deters instead of draws people to want to know more about the cause.
We encourage you to become familiar with the kind of imagery O.U.R. posts on our social channels @ourrescue – you are welcome to repost our content as long as you mention/tag O.U.R. in your repost.
4. Hashtags and Phrases
Over the past few months, the phrases and hashtags “Save The Children” and “Save OUR Children” have been accompanying conspiracy theories, often associated with QAnon, that we do not support.
Also, there is a non-profit organization called Save The Children which has been affected by the recent wave of these hashtags that pull the focus away from what they do. Although we do not have a connection with them, we want to respect their branding and not distract from the work they are doing for children in crises around the world.
Because of these reasons, you will find that we do not use those hashtags or phrases. We know there are many people wanting to make a difference and are using those hashtags or phrases, while unaware of the obstacles they are creating.
The hashtags O.U.R. uses are #OURrescue #EndHumanTrafficking #RiseUp #RiseUpForChildren #JoinTheFight
5. Avoid political topics
When discussing the topic of anti-trafficking efforts, there are bound to be instances where politics will accompany the conversation. Please be courteous and respectful when discussing or sharing news stories about
political leaders, policies, or laws that pertain to child trafficking or exploitation. We believe that fighting trafficking is a bi-partisan issue, and hope any potential donors or new volunteers see the O.U.R. volunteer community as inviting and welcoming to different opinions.
6. Please do not post the following types of articles:
-Articles that criticize law enforcement, judicial figures, or federal agencies. Although we are aware there are areas of improvement and, we have strong ties with amazing officers and agents in our own country and many others. We do not want to spark controversy.
-Articles with “clickbait” titles that do not have accurate statistics or stories about trafficking. News stories about kidnappings are often mislabeled as trafficking when the motivation behind the kidnapping cannot be confirmed.
-Articles that support conspiracy theories. Read this article to learn more about the importance of being informed by the facts of trafficking when spreading awareness.
-Disrespectful articles that shame another political party or leader.
Thank you for being careful before your post. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to email@example.com
– O.U.R. Marketing Team