Advertising Torture

A hard-hitting advertising campaign to raise awareness of the reality of torture around the world was launched today by UK-based Freedom from Torture. A series of mock job advertisements for positions including ‘kidnapper for a South Asian government agency’, ‘senior human rights abuser for a Central African militia group’, and ‘torturer in a Middle Eastern prison’, have been placed amongst genuine vacancy listings in the recruitment sections of the Guardian and Independent newspapers, with further publications to follow.

Independent Kidnapper Ad

Guardian Torturer Ad

Guardian Abuser Ad

Keith Best, CEO Freedom from Torture, said:

“It is hard not to become desensitised to the stream of stories and images of conflict and suffering we all receive through the news everyday. These adverts are designed make people stop in their tracks and look at torture from a new perspective. Of course, jobs like these aren’t usually advertised but we know only too well that they exist and men, women and children are subjected to brutal treatment around the world on a daily-basis.

“At Freedom from Torture we provide rehabilitation services to torture survivors who have fled to the UK, aimed at helping people suffering the devastating physical and psychological consequences of torture to begin the long process of rebuilding their lives. We also speak out alongside survivors and seek to use our evidence base to hold those responsible for torture to account.

“The depressing reality is that there is absolutely nothing ‘fake’ about the experiences of our clients who have been subjected to the torture and ill-treatment depicted in these adverts – methods such as electric shocking, whipping, asphyxiation and sensory deprivation. Torture is designed to break down the personality. When it is allowed to breed, it brutalises not only the direct victims, but also families, communities, societies and the torturers themselves. We hope that these adverts will reach new audiences who are not aware of the vital work Freedom from Torture does and they will consider joining with us to help survivors and make a stand against torture as a result.”


The Advertising Torture campaign was developed at Ogilvy UK, London, placed in Independent on 30 April, and The Guardian 30 April, 3 and 5 May.

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