May 7, 2020

STATEMENT – Advocates in 13 Countries Call on Credit Card Companies to Stop Supporting the Pornography Industry

Joint Letter Led by The International Centre on Sexual Exploitation and The National Center on Sexual Exploitation


Washington, DC (May 8, 2020)
– Child safety and anti-sexual exploitation advocates and organizations from Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, Denmark, England, India, Ireland, Liberia, Scotland, Sweden, Uganda, and the United States of America sent a joint letter this week to major credit card and payment processing companies requesting them to stop processing payments for the hardcore pornography industry – marking the first international effort to do so. Read the joint international letter here.

“Major credit card companies continue to provide infrastructure to the exploitative pornography industry. As international anti-exploitation leaders, we urgently call on these financial institutions to cease processing payments and thereby refuse to aid human rights violations,” said Haley McNamara, director of the International Centre on Sexual Exploitation in the UK, a subsidiary of the U.S.-based National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

“We believe this decision would be in line with your corporate ethical commitment to processing legal purchases, and that it will advance your reputation by refusing profits from sexual violence, incest, sex trafficking, child sexual abuse material, and other exploitation,” wrote 14 international organizations in a letter sent to: Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Diners Club International, Epoch Payment Solutions, Maestro Debit Cards, JCB International Credit, and PayPal (which previously cut ties with Pornhub last year, although it still appears to be used on other pornography websites).

“The pornography industry does not judge or verify consent in any videos on their sites, let alone live webcam videos,” McNamara continued. “Tragically, this has resulted in worldwide cases of rape, child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, and non-consensually shared pornography (or ‘revenge porn’) being uploaded onto mainstream pornography websites.”

“Further, we know that mainstream pornography is promoting themes of incest, rape, racism, sex with youth, and sexual violence against women, which warps many users’ sexual and neurological development. It is time for mainstream companies to stop propping up an industry that is inherently built on sexual exploitation.”

“In 2015, Visa and Mastercard rightly stopped processing payments for Backpage.com after learning about the exploitation it facilitated. We are calling on all credit card and payment processing companies to stop aiding sexual abuse and harm on all pornography websites,” McNamara concluded.

NCOSE has mounted an international grassroots effort to request that these credit card companies stop processing porn industry payments through a petition for individuals to sign: https://action.endsexualexploitation.org/w74qhyy.

Learn more about the new International Centre on Sexual Exploitation: https://endsexualexploitation.org/icose/.

About International Centre on Sexual Exploitation (ICOSE)
Utilizing cutting edge tactics for private and public policy advocacy and building on a decade of coalition-building experience, the International Centre on Sexual Exploitation (ICOSE) works to bolster the global abolitionist movement.

National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is a nonpartisan and nonsectarian non-profit and the leading national organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health harms of pornography.

Further Reading