“No corporation should profit from or facilitate sexual exploitation,” but many do, and every year twelve make the “Dirty Dozen” list. Created by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, the list is intended to “to name and shame the bad corporate actors in America that perpetuate sexual exploitation — whether that be through pornography, prostitution, or sex trafficking.”
This year’s “Dirty Dozen” are (in alphabetical order): Amazon, the American Library Association, Amnesty International, Backpage.com, Comcast, Cosmopolitan, EBSCO, HBO, Roku, Snapchat/Snapcash, Twitter and YouTube.
The NCSE, founded in 1962, describes itself as “the leading national organization opposing pornography by highlighting the links to sex trafficking, violence against women, child abuse, addiction and more.” Until 2015, it was named Morality In Media. It also directs the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation. The Coalition’s members include the American Family Association and many of its state branches; Alliance Defending Freedom; several Catholic dioceses, including the Archdiocese of Washington; the Family Research Council; and 96 other organizations.
The Dirty Dozen
Some are obvious choices, like Backpage.com, Cosmopolitan and HBO. The NCSE describes Backpage.com as bringing “the seedy street corners of America’s red-light districts to home computers.”
As a classified advertising website known as ‘the hub’ for prostitution advertising, Backpage.com serves as a virtual auction block where sex buyers can shop for human beings for sex from the privacy of their home, office, hotel room, or cell phone. Many of those bought and sold via the website are sexually trafficked women and children. The website facilitates this activity by editing ads to conceal the illegality of underlying criminal activity
The NCSE does praise Backpage.com for blocking the ads for prostitution in the U.S., while noting that doing so was “arguably a publicity stunt.”
Other choices are not so obvious. The American Library Association, for example, is included because it “zealously encourages public libraries to not install Internet filters on public-access computers, thereby granting patrons — including children — the opportunity to view obscene material.” The ALA appears on the list for the fifth straight year.
Amnesty International is included for supporting “the full decriminalization of prostitution [which] prioritizes the special interests of pimps/sex traffickers and sex buyers over the human rights of people in prostitution.” The policy Amnesty International supports would let pimps and brothel-keepers operate “as mere ‘sex business operators,’ and creates a de facto right for men to buy people for sex. Amnesty also views prostitution as ‘sex work,’ transforming the violence inherent to prostitution into an ‘on-the-job’ requirement.”
The library resource company EBSCO supplies online resources to schools. Some of its products, according to the list, “provide easy access to hardcore pornography sites and extremely graphic sexual content. Innocent searches provide pornographic results. Via a system that bypasses school Internet filters, EBSCO brings the dark world of XXX to America’s elementary, middle, and high school children.”
Amazon, Comcast, Roku, Snapchat/Snapcash, Twitter and YouTube are all included for providing easy access to pornography and sex products (which we will not list here). The anti-pornography group Fight the New Drug recently highlighted Twitter’s “Massive Porn Problem.” This includes over 14,000 active accounts “involved in the creation and distribution of child porn.”
The Contenders and the Victories
The Dirty Dozen list includes three “contenders” on the “Watch List.” The Watch List includes corporations that might join the Dirty Dozen and those who have made some but not enough progress to stop their participation in sexual exploitation. This year the three enterprises included are Hyatt Hotels, the Department of Justice and Verizon.
Hyatt and Verizon are praised for making some progress. The DOJ is cited for its failure over the last eight years to “enforce existing federal obscenity laws (hardcore pornography) despite the fact that these laws have been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court and previously enforced. This gross negligence gave a free pass to producers and distributors of pornography and enabled the culture of sexual exploitation to flourish.” The Family Research Council noted that Attorney General Eric Holder dissolved the Obscenity Prosecution Task Force.
Some in the Dirty Dozen and on the Watchlist also appear in NCSE’s list of “Victories” for making real steps to reduce their involvement in sexual exploitation. These are Backpage.com, Comcast, Hyatt, Snapchat, Verizon and Youtube.
Other “Victories” — a list that covers the last several years — are American Apparel, the Department of Defense, Google, GooglePlay, Hilton, Marsh and Walmart. The DoD is praised for having “stopped the sale of pornography in all Army and Air Force base exchanges” and also for ordering “regular search and removals of all sexual materials in public and workspaces … all military branches.” (For more from the author of “Youtube, Amazon, HBO, Even the American Library Association Are Part of the ‘Dirty Dozen'” please click HERE)