Midgeek demonstration, London, October 2020

We did it! Discover joins Visa and Mastercard in rejecting Pornhub


Following an international movement involving nearly 20,000 members of the Freedom United community, the credit card company Discover has joined Mastercard and Visa in cutting ties with Pornhub.

Discovery’s move means customers will no longer be able to use any of the three credit card giants to make purchases on the Canada-based porn site—and alternatives are limited, with American Express and PayPal already blocking payments.

The development spells success for Freedom United’s Reject Pornhub campaign, which saw supporters write to the credit card companies in the thousands and others join a protest outside the London office of Pornhub’s parent company, Mindgeek.

Along with the broader Traffickinghub campaign and a high-profile New York Times investigation, our community was able to create the necessary pressure for the companies to take action.

Mastercard undertook an investigation into Pornhub early last week before cutting ties on Thursday; while Visa’s own investigation remains ongoing, it also suspended payments last week.

Pornhub has also made changes to their site since the investigation was announced, including only allowing verified users to upload videos, although their past safeguarding measures have been ineffective at preventing harmful content from circulating.

CNN Business reports:

“We require our financial institution partners to monitor for and prevent card acceptance at merchants that allow illegal or any other prohibited activities that violate our operating standards,” Discover said in a statement. “When Discover determines merchants are offering prohibited activity, we promptly terminate card acceptance through the offending merchant’s financial institution.”

An estimated 42 billion people visit Pornhub and 6 million videos are uploaded every year, and the company does not have sufficient regulation in place to ensure that victims of trafficking and sexual abuse are not exploited on its site.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), which has been vocal on the issue, applauded the credit card companies and said the move was “the right decision to finally cut ties with a profiteer of rape.”

Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in the U.S. have introduced legislation that would enable trafficking victims to sue websites like Pornhub for profiting off their exploitation.

We’re grateful to everyone who helped achieve this victory by asking Visa, Mastercard, and Discovery to stop facilitating a company that profits from trafficking.

Pornhub’s content moderation systems must effectively prevent the monetization of trafficking survivors’ experiences before payments from credit card companies resume.

Read our field report here.

Chip in and help end modern slavery once and for all.

Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

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D. Ergh
D. Ergh
1 year ago

This is great that it’s been a victory with all three card companies. It shouldn’t have taken so long, but at least it’s accomplished. It’s time this industry sees some real obstacles in its way. Porn is an actual addiction for some and it’s about time people start treating it like one, and don’t let it ruin the lives of those it victimizes