Turn Off the Blue Light (TOBL) is a small sex worker led association campaigning for the health, safety, human, civil and labour rights of Irish sex workers.
As we previously reported, our Google AdWords advert that read ‘Turn Off The Blue Light, Sex workers in Ireland need human rights, not legal wrongs’ was stopped by Google on May 24th under their ‘egregious violation’ policy.
We strongly reject Google’s assertion that sex workers asking for their rights is ‘egregious’ (This word means outstandingly bad, shocking, offensive). We think it is very wrong of Google to not allow TOBL to use AdWords, whilst allowing anti-prostitution organisations to do so. It’s discrimination, and we complained to Google about it, though unfortunately we learnt last week that our appeal failed.
We do not know why Google decided to stop TOBL using AdWords. Did someone complain to Google about TOBL using AdWords perhaps?
However what we do know is that now, if you search for ‘turn off the blue light’ in Google, the first result is an advert for Ruhama (This will only work if you are in Ireland or go to Google.ie as Ruhama are paying for an Ireland only campaign.)
Ruhama is a government funded religious anti-prostitution organisation, founded in 1989 as a joint initiative of the Good Shepherd Sisters and Our Lady of Charity Sisters, two of the four religious orders that ran Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries, a topic that has received much press attention this week following a damning UN report.
Ruhama have no reason to pay to come above TOBL in Google search results for the exact phrase ‘turn off the blue light’ other than to attempt to stop Irish people looking for the TOBL website finding it. It’s bullying from a religious organisation funded by the government who don’t want sex workers to be at the table when policies that impact their lives are being discussed.