Anti-Sex Trafficking Campaign Matches Tinder Users To Abused Victims

I never thought Tinder would be a place for a disruptive campaign, creating awareness around sex trafficking in Ireland. But that's exactly what has happened, as advertising agency EightyTwenty has worked on behalf of the Immigration Council of Ireland by creating several fake profiles of actresses portraying women forced into sex work.

The profiles would show an normal woman on the first few photos; but swipe through the remaining pictures and more brutally realistic signs of physical abuse start to show, simulating injuries and threatening behaviour. This is ended by a message campaigning against sex trafficking and a link to organisation Turn Off The Red Light, who are seeking a full ban on sex work.

To catch you up on Irish law, sex work is technically legal throughout the country, whereas public solicitation was not. Northern Ireland recently passed a bill making paying for sexual servises (prostitution) illegal, but the rest of the country is yet to make advances in eliminating human trafficking.

Putting on my 'social media marketer' head (hate using that phrase), this is a good campaign to disrupt and create awareness. However EightyTwenty's choice to push this campaign out via Tinder is something I would question. To begin with, this breaks Tinder's user guidelines by creating fake profiles, but also the idea to target people by duping them into thinking they're finding matches, only to have that taken away from them in the form of a political campaign just seems counter-productive to the cause.

"This is the first use of Tinder in Ireland for a campaign of this nature and one of the first globally," Cathal Gillen commented. "It provides us with a unique, innovative and stand out way of communicating to men the issues faced by women involved in sex trafficking.

There are several big issues with this campaign: the first and most obvious being that creating fake profiles would seem to go against Tinder's own user guidelines. It's also an odd tactic to take to rally support for any cause: tricking people into believing what they're seeing are actual potential dating matches, only to find out they've been duped by a political campaign.