Tinder users are never certain of what they'll see before swiping right, but they likely don't expect to find the face of a sex trafficking victim.
A new campaign created by advertising agency Eighty Twenty is bringing startling images to the dating app in Ireland to raise awareness on the issue. The project, launched on behalf of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, shows photos of models standing in for trafficking victims, as if they were in real profiles of potential matches on Tinder.
Users who browse through the photos -- which become increasingly disturbing with each swipe right -- end on a message from the campaign about the issue, such as, "The physical scars of sex trafficking eventually fade. The mental scars last a lifetime."
"This is the first use of Tinder in Ireland for a campaign of this nature and one of the first globally," Cathal Gillen of Eighty Twenty stated on the agency's website. "Tinder has become an extremely popular app in Ireland, and it provides us with a unique, innovative and standout way of communicating to men the issues faced by women involved in sex trafficking."
Roughly 2.4 million people across the globe are victims of human trafficking at any time, according to the United Nations, and the issue disproportionately affects females, as two-thirds of all victims are women. Sex trafficking accounts for 58 percent of all global trafficking cases, and the crime is more common in the Americas, Europe and Central Asia, according to the U.N.'s 2012 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.
"Women are lured out of their homes and countries with false promises," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a 2012 press release. "They are stripped of their passports, their dignity and their personal security. To protect people from such exploitation, countries have to coordinate their labor and migration policies."
The Immigrant Council of Ireland said the campaign is an attempt to engage the public through modern methods of communication, exposing the issue to those who might not see it otherwise.
"It is our policy to constantly explore all forms of media to help us reach new people to raise awareness," Jerry O'Connor, the Immigrant Council's communication and advocacy manager, told Mic. "And this particular project is very much in line with that approach."
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.