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Charity Raises Sex Trafficking Awareness Through Tinder

Novelty Dating App Platforms New Campaign

Tinder, the ultra-modern hook-up app in which personality, sense of humour and mutual interests are disregarded in favour of good old-fashioned superficiality, has never really been taken very seriously. While 'more mature' social networks are often used as a platform from which to springboard important charity campaigns or cure the world's ailments, Tinder has traditionally been seen as nothing more than a shallow and morally ambiguous tool to aid in your desperate ambitions to canoodle strangers.

And yes, I doth protest too much.
But people are finally beginning to take Tinder a little more seriously. Due to its relatively unique nature as a short-range social network, it can act as something of a local hub; everyone you communicate with through the app has chosen to match with you specifically. From a marketing perspective, this means that anyone who sees what you share has already taken the bait, making it an incredibly powerful, if highly unconventional, marketing tool.

The first people to realise this merely unleashed an army of heart-breaking sexy robots to do their bidding. These bots came in the form of gorgeous women, who would match with every single person they came across and encourage them to visit a site that was clearly more full of viruses and spam than an open tin of Virus-Spam. These bots still exist, but their effectiveness must surely be declining by now (fool me 17 times, shame on me).
But people are beginning to use the app more creatively. While stories about novelty accounts on Tinder are basically as old as the app itself, Buzzfeed recently reported on a woman who was attempting to use the app to re-home a kitten that was desperately in need of a loving family. The story was an indication of how Tinder can be used as a serious marketing tool, but a new article has emerged that proves it can be used for even more than that.

A charity in Ireland have recently used it to spread awareness about sex trafficking in the country, and their decision to use Tinder - which purports such a famously relaxed and indifferent attitude towards the human sex drive - makes the message all the more shocking. With the help of an Irish ad agency named eightytwenty, the charity created three Tinder profiles of beautiful female models. Scrolling through their pictures showed the women becoming progressively more bruised and beaten, and ended with the following message: “Your options are left or right. Sex trafficking victims have no options. You have the option to help end it now.”

Eightytwenty insist the campaign has been incredibly successful in informing blissfully ignorant mobile users about “the issues faced by women involved in sex trafficking.” Tinder, meanwhile, has been described as a “standout way” to spread this awareness, and the profiles have been described as “very well received.” Against all odds, Tinder is proving itself to be a fantastic tool to raise public awareness at this personal, local level.
As with most social media charity pushes, the campaign has received some criticism. While many argue against using Tinder to share such serious messages in general, the main issue is with the charity who are fronting the campaign. The girls’ profiles contain a link to a group called Turn Off The Red Light, whose aim is to ban every form of prostitution. While everyone supports their derision of sex trafficking, it has to be asked whether or not this stance represents an ulterior motive to their entire push.

Why have they chosen to link their own personal politics with such an important, tragic epidemic? Furthermore, could the banning of prostitution merely make sex trafficking easier? Some argue that the more underground and ungoverned an industry becomes, the easier it is to manipulate. Examples of this can be seen in places like Mexico, where the War on Drugs is responsible for taking thousands of lives.

It's an issue with no clear answer. If you do have any thoughts, please share them in the comments. We'd love to hear what you think.

Emile is a postgrad from the University of Saint Mark and Saint John. He’s hoping to break into journalism or publishing, and won’t stop blogging until he’s managed it! Follow him @EmileAtSMF.

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Charity Raises Sex Trafficking Awareness Through Tinder Reviewed by Anonymous on Monday, November 10, 2014 Rating: 5
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