Google's Positive Policy Changes
September 4, 2017

In Light of Google’s Positive Policy Changes, Work Remains

As our 12 Days of Action campaign has recently ended, and while reflecting on our recent successes and the victories yet to come, I am struck by the sheer magnitude of the companies we embark on changing, including Google, a company we are all familiar with.

These massive companies with thousands of employees and hundreds of departments and millions in revenue are formidable targets. They are chosen because they shape culture. Companies such as Google and Amazon have become so intrinsic to our daily lives that it is difficult, if not nearly impossible for some, to discontinue use of their services and products.

Because of their position in our economy and our country, their choices carry great weight. The decisions these companies make often affect our lives more directly and more regularly than some legislation, and as such, it is important that we as consumers of these business and citizens of this country hold these companies to high standards of corporate responsibility.

At the National Center on Sexual Exploitation we take on the burden of holding these companies responsible to you in regard to ways in which they facilitate or profit from sexual exploitation. We do this with your help. We don’t take on targets lightly or back down from a challenge. We embrace our mission to defend human dignity and oppose sexual exploitation, and we work tirelessly to ensure that one day it be the standard, not the exception, for the companies driving and shaping our culture to do the same.

But one thing we all have to remember in our advocacy efforts is that at the heart of these companies are people. Human beings are making the decisions, not an amorphous office. Human beings, who go to the office in the morning and work hard all day and then go home and hug their children or have dinner with their parents or call a friend to just say “Hi.” We will not get as far as in fulfilling our mission if we do not appeal to the hearts of human beings making the decisions.

It is also important to remember these companies are enormous and not every department is in communications with another. Several of the targets we have on our Dirty Dozen list have many facets to their companies and just as many different ways of facilitating sexual exploitation. When targeting some companies, we have to tailor our efforts to a branch of the corporation, not to the company as a whole. For example, Google’s YouTube is on our Dirty Dozen list for hosting hardcore pornography and rape videos. And if you have been following along on our blog, you will know we are opposing Google on Capitol Hill. Google is lobbying against amending Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. This law is shielding websites such as Backpage.com, that intentionally and knowingly facilitate sex trafficking.

But if you have been a NCOSE supporter for the last few years, you know we had a huge victory when Google removed pornographic apps from Google Play and when they stopped linking to pornographic advertisements on Google.com. Maybe you thanked them through our webpage.

All of this results in a complicated, perplexing conundrum that leaves us questioning where we stand on companies such as Google. Should we be thanking them or petitioning them? Condemning or praising?

I think the answer is much more simple than we believe. At the end of the day we must remember that we make our efforts for people and with people. We are fighting to defend the human dignity of every person. We are fighting to defend the dignity of those harmed by sex exploitation and enslaved by sex trafficking; we are fighting to defend the dignity of the general public from being unwillingly exposed to sexual exploitation by companies they trust, and we’re fighting to preserve the flame of human of dignity so that it shines long after the executives at the companies we work so diligently to change have come and gone. We’re even working to protect the wellbeing and dignity of the individuals, and their families, in leadership at the very corporations we take on.

We will not be able to fight effectively if we do not remember who we are fighting for and why.

The individuals who make the executive decisions at these corporations are people. Like all of us, some of the decisions they make are good and benefit the public good, and others seek to protect self-interest.

This means we want to acknowledge and thank Google and its leaders when they take meaningful steps towards reducing sexual exploitation. Positive change deserves to be recognized and commended.

But, we must also hold companies to account when their products or policies cause serious harm.

No corporation like this or the others NCOSE takes on will be changed overnight, , but incremental, meaningful steps toward defending human dignity will make for a future free from sexual exploitation.

That is a future I hope to see, and it is one I hope these influential companies will help us build.

Madison Darling

Director of Operations

As Director of Operations for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, Madison advances mission of NCOSE through ensuring compliance with local and federal nonprofit regulations, optimizes office processes for efficiency and effectiveness, manages relationships with office service providers, conducts the Defender Program as well as the Hill Society, coordinates the Sexual Justice Advocate Intern Program, and helps support the organization’s development efforts. Madison also speaks regularly on activism theory and techniques, the impact of community groups on fighting sexual exploitation, and the public health harms of pornography.

Madison has been working in non profit operations since 2010, when she founded and ran the Suicide Prevention Organization (SPO), an organization which was recognized by the Alabama Department of Public Health as a community leader on teen suicide prevention in the educational setting, serves as the basis for pending Alabama legislation, and is currently entering its eighth year of active operation. During her time leading SPO, Madison traveled across the state of Alabama giving over three hundred presentations on the topic of teen suicide prevention as well as on starting similar programs using sustainable methods. Madison then continued onto Blanket Fort Hope as the Education Coordinator, where she developed a training curriculum on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking. Additionally, Madison owned and operated a sole proprietorship, Darling Matters, where she was approached by the Birmingham Police Department to build a peer-to-peer mentoring program to improve officer wellbeing. After building out the framework for this program, Madison went on to construct then execute the first ever Alabama Forensic Institute for the University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences, which continues teaching public speaking skills to high school students and connecting them with college scholarships today.

Madison earned a Bachelors of Social Work from the University of Alabama (magna cum laude with University Honors). Madison is certified in Mental Health First Aid by Mental Health America, and is a registered notary in the District of Columbia. She relocated to Washington, D.C. in August of 2016 and when not at the office, Madison enjoys taking in a comedy show, finding the best local ice cream places, and relaxing on her front porch with a good book.

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