No corporation should profit from or facilitate sexual exploitation.
Unfortunately, many well-established brands, companies, and organizations in America do just that. Since 2013, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation has published an annual Dirty Dozen List to name and shame the bad corporate actors in America that perpetuate sexual exploitation—whether that be through pornography, prostitution, and sex trafficking.
The Dirty Dozen List is an activism tool that has instigated tremendous changes, leading to policy improvements at Google, Hilton Worldwide, Verizon, Walmart, and the Department of Defense (see more below!)
NCOSE announced the 2017 Dirty Dozen List on February 22 via a live online press conference. You can watch a recording of the press conference below.
At the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, we work for a world where the pornified vision of reality—with its raw, brutal, debasing, hate-filled themes—becomes intolerable to all those who have concern for the well-being of humanity, respect for human dignity, and affirm human rights. We work for a world where human beings are not bought and sold for sex, whether on seedy street corners or via the modern convenience of the Internet. We work for a world free from sexual exploitation in all its forms.
One way we do this is through the annual “Dirty Dozen List,” which names and shames a range of actors who contribute significantly to the normalization of pornography, prostitution, sex trafficking, and other forms of sexual exploitation. The groups, agencies, and businesses named to this list are among the nation’s worst for masquerading as mainstream entities with respectable reputations, while facilitating access to, or pandering and profiting directly from pornography and or prostitution. Others push policy agendas that normalize egregious forms of sexual exploitation. This list ensures that their participation and collusion with the various aspects of the sex trade becomes public knowledge, and equips concerned citizens with information and tools to hold them accountable.
We will continue naming and shaming until these mainstream contributors to the normalization of sexual exploitation no longer stand in allegiance with pornographers, sex traffickers, and sex buyers, and join us in fighting for the right of everyone to live sexploitation free lives.
The Dirty Dozen Watch List serves dual purposes. In some instances, it puts entities on notice that they may soon find themselves named as a major contributor to sexual exploitation unless they demonstrate significant and sustained efforts to address their role in fueling sexual exploitation. In other cases, by placing an organization on the Watch List, NCOSE is affirming an entity’s positive step towards addressing its role in sexual exploitation. However, because some such steps represent only small progress in terms of the entity’s total contribution to sexual exploitation, or because we may have concerns about the entity’s intent to carry through with its pledge, placement on the Watch List also signals our lingering concerns about their commitment to ending sexual exploitation.
In 2015, Hyatt Hotels Corporation followed other major hotel chains in pledging to remove all on-demand hardcore pornography offerings from its hotels. But some of its hotels are still offering hardcore pornography. Will Hyatt carry through with its pledge to remove this material from all its properties?
For the past eight years, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) refused 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. Will the new leadership at DOJ take robust action against the purveyors of obscenity?
Verizon profits from sexual exploitation by providing hardcore pornography as an Internet service provider, through its FiOS television packages, and as a wireless carrier. They have even defended child, rape, incest, and racist-themed pornography as a benefit to their customers. However, Verizon has taken a step toward curbing its participation in sexual exploitation by creating an opt-in system for new subscribers to FiOS IPTV services. Does this step mark the beginning of Verizon’s journey towards becoming a sexploitation-free corporation?
American Apparel stopped using nudity and sexually explicit advertising for its clothing line and took extensive measures to remove these types of ads from its online and print catalogues.
Backpage.com, a large classified ad website notorious for facilitating prostitution and sex trafficking, recently blocked its prostitution ads in the U.S. While arguably a publicity stunt, this move was taken due to intense pressure for its role as a facilitator of sex trafficking. However, the site continues to operate and is arguably the largest facilitator of sexual exploitation in the world. For these reasons Backpage remains of the Dirty Dozen list for a third consecutive year.
Carl’s Jr., one of four brands under CKE Restaurants including Hardee’s, has announced that it will stop producing hyper-sexualized, misogynistic ads for their fast food products.
CKE Restaurants received substantial negative press for their demeaning ads after being placed on NCOSE’s 2015 Dirty Dozen List.
Comcast improved usability and tightened the parental control settings for cable users. However Comcast is still distributing hardcore pornography, which is why it is on the 2017 Dirty Dozen List.
The Department of Defense stopped the sale of pornography in all Army and Air Force base exchanges. The DOD also ordered regular search and removals of all sexual materials in public and workspaces take place for all military branches.
Facebook has taken steps to improve efforts to block and report child pornography on its site.
The Fifty Shades of Grey film release was met with substantial opposition, including a viral social media campaign and hundreds of PR interviews to highlight how the series and film normalizes sexual violence. NCOSE’s 2017 social media campaign against the cinematic sequel, Fifty Shades Darker, reached more than 1 million individuals with the message that #FiftyShadesIsAbuse.
Google adopted a policy to prohibit pornographic ads and any ads that link to websites with sexually explicit content.
GooglePlay instituted policies that prohibit pornographic apps in their app store after the first year on our list, though lax enforcement of this policy followed. After a second year on the list, GooglePlay removed all apps in violation.
Hilton Hotels Worldwide publicly announced it would stop selling pornography and issued orders to implement this policy in all of its brand contracts around the world. It is expected to be in full-force by July 2016.
Hyatt Hotels & Resorts revised their brand standard to stop profiting from all in-room pornography film offerings and has demanded that all of their properties comply. However, we learned that some Hyatt Hotels are still providing pornography through on-demand offerings. This is why Hyatt Hotels and Resorts in on NCOSE’s 2017 Dirty Dozen Watch List.
InterContinental Hotel Group performed an audit of their more than 4,800 properties around the world and insisted that all hotels immediately cease selling porn films or face the risk of losing good standing as an IGH brand. IHG made this move without having to be publicly named to the Dirty Dozen List.
Marsh Supermarkets, a chain of produce markets and convenience stores in Indiana and Ohio, removed Cosmopolitan magazine from its checkout lanes. As a result, Marsh customers can enjoy a sexploitation free checkout experience.
Snapchat recently announced that it will prohibit sensitive content, including overly sexualized content, within Discover, the publisher section of the app. However, given the extremely pornified atmosphere of Discover which Snapchat allowed to flourish, and other serious concerns about sexual exploitation on Snapchat, the company remain on the Dirty Dozen list.
Twitter is now blocking several pornography-related search terms—particularly from results in the “Photos” and “Videos” section of the social media platform. Twitter must do more to sexually exploitive content on its platform, specifically regarding its video streaming app Periscope and accounts featuring pornography and/or promoting prostitution.
But this recent decision to block blatant searches for pornographic images and videos is a significant break from their past laissez-faire approach and should be commended.
Verizon removed the child-themed and slavery-themed pornographic films they were offering through their FIOS TV. In 2016 Verizon also changed its policy for new FiOS IPTV customers so that they will automatically be offered pornography-free television packages, unless customers specifically request to opt-in to such content. CEO Lowell McAdam told us that they will implement this change in 2017. While we wait to see if policy is implemented, Verizon is on NCOSE’s 2017 Dirty Dozen Watch List.
Walmart, RiteAid, Food Lion and other retailers mandated policies to put the sexually explicit Cosmopolitan magazine behind blinders in their retail shops.
YouTube launched the much safer YouTube Kids app, which gives kids a better protected space to watch age-appropriate videos without risk of being exposed to the violent and sexual content on the official YouTube site. However, YouTube still needs to make significant improvements to its monitoring and reporting systems.
Written by Margo Davison with Lisa Thompson A coalition of groups spearheaded by California-based Consumer Watchdog released an incriminating report entitled How Google’s Backing of Backpage Protects Child Sex Trafficking. The report exposes Google’s multipronged efforts to defend Backpage.com, a website notorious for facilitating prostitution and sex trafficking of women and children. About Backpage With […]
Report Reveals Google Support of Backpage.com Yesterday a coalition of consumer and anti-trafficking advocates released a report documenting that Google has financially backed the efforts of digital rights groups to defend Backpage.com—a website notorious for facilitating prostitution and sex trafficking—from numerous legal challenges. The report cited evidence that Google and the groups it financially supports have […]
Thanks to Facebook Memories, I was just reminded of a major turning point in the fight to defend human dignity. Three years ago, today, our organization set up a meeting with leaders at Google and invited key allies to join us. This meeting has led to monumental changes, not only at Google directly, but also in making […]
Saturday, #ComcastCaresDay began trending on Twitter as Comcast launched its annual corporate volunteer event. As the hashtag began climbing, though, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation addressed the irony that although Comcast claims to care about building communities, it also has defending selling pornography with racist, sexist, and violent themes. NCOSE spoke out on Twitter, […]
Carl’s Jr., one of four brands under CKE Restaurants including Hardee’s, has announced that it will stop producing racy ads for their fast food products. CKE Restaurant CEO Andy Puzder has claimed that the reason for the change in marketing strategy is that millennial men care more about “where do you source your beef” than […]
Methods of communication have changed drastically over the past decade, and social media sites such as Twitter boast a stronger and more ubiquitous presence than ever before. Tweeting and replying to tweets between friends, as well as following Tweets from celebrities has been popular since 2006 when the social media platform was first created. However, […]
As first reported by HeatStreet, Twitter is now blocking several pornography-related search terms—particularly from results in the “Photos” and “Videos” section of the social media platform. Now when users type in hashtags or keywords traditionally associated with pornography, they get this message: Why is this important? Twitter has come under fire recently for the vast […]
Publicity stunts aren’t the same as policy changes. Two months ago Backpage.com, an online classifieds website that’s under scrutiny from the federal government for its facilitation of sex trafficking and prostitution, “shut down” the section on its website entitled “adult services.” This change occurred the night before Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer and founders, Michael Lacey […]
Ep. 20 Changing culture by changing major companies. We live in an age where many consumers demand transparency from companies they trust. We want to know the working conditions of those who made our clothing, and if pesticides were used to grow our food. Now, thanks to The Dirty Dozen List, we can see which […]
Verizon has a long history of profiting from hardcore pornography. Verizon has even defended teen, rape, incest, and racist-themed pornography as a benefit to their customers! Of course, we know that pornography is neurologically and psychologically harmful, and inextricably synonymous with sexual exploitation. However, we do have encouraging news! After we met with Verizon’s CEO and […]