SWAI is extremely concerned for the safety of sex workers in Ireland, as Ugly Mugs a widely used by sex workers has been rejected by Google to allows its app to screen calls and texts. This app screens calls and text for dangerous clients. Ugly Mugs applied for an exemption to new rules by Google to clamp down on apps, that require phone and sms permissions, but Google rejected its application.

This app is used by sex workers all over Ireland on a daily basis and they rely on it to keep them safe. It is extremely concerning that an app, which keeps sex workers safe from dangerous clients and has helped prevent many attacks on sex workers is having one of its keys means to keep sex workers safe being removed from the app.

Catriona, a sex worker “I use this app all the time and honestly without it I would probably be beaten or robbed. This is something I don’t say lightly, but my safety has been indispensable to the existent of this app. I am really worried for myself and my colleagues, that such an important part of the app is being removed.”

Kate McGrew, director of SWAI says “Sex workers, and trans workers in particular, are some of the most vulnerable people on the planet. Sex work is not illegal in Ireland, but working together with another worker is. What little safety nets we have are being eroded. 

We all deserve to work in safety and removing this feature from Ugly Mugs will be put in danger because of this issue. Google need to step up and do the right thing so that we can continue to remain safe”