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Growing calls for credit card companies to reject porn sites

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Child SlaveryHuman Trafficking

With the launch of a new campaign this past week, Freedom United joins a growing coalition of organizations calling on credit card companies to cut ties with pornographic sites such as Pornhub on the basis that they facilitate trafficking.

In a new letter to ten major credit card companies, activists and campaigners called for the immediate suspension of payments to pornographic sites as a result of their failure to prevent exploitative content.                                                                  

Pornhub, one of the world’s most visited pornography sites, has been under scrutiny for exploitative content for several months.

Last year, the owners of a Pornhub content provider named GirlsDoPorn were charged by the FBI with coercing women into making pornographic films.

In a separate case, a Florida man was charged for sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl and posting footage of the attack on Pornhub last October.

While Pornhub claims that it removes unauthorized content as soon as it comes to light, these high-profile cases are only the tip of the iceberg: the UK-based Internet Watch Foundation found 118 child sexual abuse and rape items on the site between 2017 and 2019.

A report by the India Child Protection Fund (ICPF), meanwhile, found a sharp rise in demand for child abuse videos on pornography sites in India—particularly during the current pandemic.

BBC reports:

The letter alleges it is impossible to “judge or verify consent in any videos on their site, let alone live webcam videos” which “inherently makes pornography websites a target for sex traffickers, child abusers, and others sharing predatory nonconsensual videos”.

“We’ve been seeing an increasingly global outcry about the harms of pornography sharing websites in a number of ways in recent months,” said Haley McNamara, the director of the UK-based International Centre on Sexual Exploitation, the international arm of the NCOSE and a signatory of the letter.

“We in the international child advocacy and anti-sexual exploitation community are demanding financial institutions to critically analyse their supportive role in the pornography industry, and to cut ties with them,” she told the BBC.

Credit card companies are key players in the movement because pornography sites rely on them to process payments and therefore generate profit for continued operation.

Paypal is the only major online payment company that has thus far blocked payments to Pornhub, but the site said this move alone had a significant impact on revenue.

Mastercard has promised to investigate the letter’s claims, stating that the company would “terminate [pornography sites’] connection to our network” if they confirmed illegal activity by a cardholder.

American Express has blocked transactions on high-risk digital content—including all online pornography—since 2000, but was included as a recipient because certain recent offers on pornography sites contradict this stance.

Freedom United’s new Reject Pornhub campaign specifically supports the Traffickinghub campaign, which was founded by activist Laila Mickelwait and has gathered over 800,000 signatures.

We’ve written to Visa, Mastercard, and Discover bringing Pornhub’s trafficking links to their attention, and now we’re mobilizing as many members of the Freedom United community as we can to do the same.

Take a stand against trafficking and join the campaign today.

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

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Freedom UnitedRebecca Dominguezpaul eastonYavor H. Recent comment authors
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Rebecca Dominguez
Rebecca Dominguez

I highly recommend talking to sex workers about trafficking and exploitation before your talk to abolitionists and those who believe that all sex workers are victims. Sex workers have lots of good ideas about how to end trafficking in the industry, but rarely does anyone bother asking them. I won’t be signing this petition because it harms those who use PornHub legitimately as a source of income. You need more nuance here.

Freedom United

Hi Rebecca, Thank you for your important feedback on this campaign. We are by no means targeting the porn industry as a whole and make clear in our campaign that we’re aware that sex workers themselves have long called for PornHub to change or shut down for pirating content and making it difficult for sex workers and performers to make a sustainable living. Some performers had not given their consent for their videos to end up on PornHub and yet they reportedly struggle to get their content removed, indicating that PornHub doesn’t have strong measures in place to monitor consent.… Read more »

paul easton
paul easton

This is a completely unacceptable attack on our freedom of thought and expression. I will now unsubscribe and remove you from my life. It might be acceptable to attack a particular porn site because of repeated well documented violations (which I doubt you would be able to furnish), but to attack the whole industry is a totalitarian approach. You are no better than the Government Of China,

Freedom United

Hi Paul,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this campaign. We are by no means targeting the porn industry as a whole. Freedom United’s position on this campaign is explicitly aimed at PornHub due to evidence from trafficking survivors that content flagged as trafficking was not removed by PornHub despite being repeatedly asked to do so.

In solidarity,
Miriam

Yavor H.
Yavor H.

They say that they remove the content as soon as it comes to light. Obviously they fail to do that. In any case, they should also be immeadiately forwarding any suspicious content to criminal investigators on top of just removing content.