February 11, 2019

Top Contributors to Sexual Exploitation Revealed

2019 Dirty Dozen List Released

Massage Envy, Amazon, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Among Top Contributors to Sexual Exploitation Problem in America

 

Washington, DC – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) today launched its 2019 Dirty Dozen List, a list of carefully selected entities that are major, mainstream facilitators of sexual exploitation in the United States. NCOSE will livestream a press conference to discuss the Dirty Dozen List today at 11:00am EST at DirtyDozenList.com and on our Facebook page.

 

No corporation should profit from or facilitate sexual exploitation,” said Haley Halverson, Vice President of Advocacy and Outreach at the National Center on 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 mainstream players in America that perpetuate sexual exploitation—whether that be through sex trafficking, prostitution, sexual objectification, sexual violence and/or pornography.”

 

“The Dirty Dozen List is an activism tool that gives back power to individuals who want a voice in the culture. It has led to victories including Snapchat creating in-app reporting for harassing and pornographic snaps, Walmart removing Cosmopolitan from checkout aisles, Hilton Worldwide halting the sale of on demand pornography, along with changes at the Department of Defense, Google, and more.”

 

“Notably, United Airlines has been named to the 2019 Dirty Dozen List for consistent failure to holistically address sexual harassment problems on its airlines. Similarly, Massage Envy has been listed for systemic mishandling of more than 400 reported sexual assaults.”

 

“This year, Nevada has become the first-ever state to receive the ignominious distinction of placement on the Dirty Dozen List. By legalizing and normalizing prostitution, Nevada sanctioned sexual exploitation of socioeconomically vulnerable women, and as a result now has the highest rates of an illegal sex trade in the country, adjusted for population—63% higher than the next highest state of New York and double that of Florida.”

 

A full statement on Nevada being named to the Dirty Dozen List is available at EndSexualExploitation.org/Nevada.

 

The 2019 Dirty Dozen List:

Amazon: Amazon delivers sexual exploitation right to your doorstep. As the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon facilitates sexually exploitive products such as sex dolls (many with childlike features), eroticized child nudity photography, and books offering “how-to” instructions for sex trafficking. Further, Amazon Prime produces original movies and TV shows that insert unnecessary gratuitous nudity thus bringing softcore pornified content to mainstream entertainment. Amazon therefore sets a standard among online retailers that it’s ok to profit from sexual exploitation.

 

EBSCO: EBSCO Information Services offers online library resources to public and private schools (K-12), public libraries, and more. In its advertising, it promises “curriculum-appropriate content.” While EBSCO has made significant improvements to elementary and middle school databases, high school databases still contain sexually graphic, non-academic, materials. This includes graphic sex act instructions and some live links to pornographic websites.

 

Google: Google has failed to prioritize the digital wellbeing of its users through Google Chromebooks used in schools, Google Images, and YouTube. Google Chromebooks are marketed to schools as “built from the ground up to be shared with an unlimited number of students.” Unfortunately, many schools distribute unprotected and unfiltered Chromebooks when Google could easily turn on a default setting for safer use by children. Further, in a fraction of one second, Google Images turns up countless graphic pornographic results where penetration is clearly visible for innocent search terms. YouTube, the world’s largest video-sharing platform, regularly hosts pornography and sexual violence while Google shirks responsibility by forcing users to act at content flaggers.

 

HBO: Home Box Office Inc. (HBO) is a premium cable and satellite television network with extensive cultural influence, which regularly produces original programs that incorporate graphic sex scenes and eroticized rape scenes. Examples include The Deuce, True Blood, and Game of Thrones. Previous shows such as Cathouse and Hung normalized commercial sexual exploitation. Despite hosting graphic content, parental controls on HBO are clunky and ineffective, decreasing the odds of parents even using them, and increasing the odds that children will be exposed to sexually exploitative material.

 

Massage Envy: #MassageToo! From Hollywood, Capitol Hill, Silicon Valley and beyond the #MeToo movement has revealed the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault in our society. But at your local massage studio too? Yes! Massage Envy has been, and is being, sued by hundreds of women for failing to take appropriate measures when a massage therapist sexually harasses or assaults a client. The biggest massage chain has hidden forced arbitration clauses in customer agreements which force women to surrender their rights.  Massage Envy does not even require reporting of suspected assaults to the Massage Therapy Board, thus allowing perpetrators to continue preying on vulnerable clients

 

Netflix: Netflix has become a staple of at-home entertainment and a major producer of media normalizing sexual exploitation and objectification.  Despite much highly-rated originally produced content on its platform, Netflix sinks to storytelling which portrays gratuitous nudity and graphic sex acts in shows meant for teen and young audiences. Further, Netflix portrays graphic and violent depictions of sexual assault in a number of their shows and has even produced shows normalizing sex trafficking and eroticizing children.  Netflix allows a loophole for children to easily get around parental control features and it regularly recommends children’s content paired right next to NC17 and TV-MA content.

 

Nevada: Nevada has become home base for pimps and sex traffickers. As the only U.S. state in which prostitution is legal in certain counties, Nevada legally sanctions male sexual entitlement. Its sexploitation industry has a predatory dependence on women with economic disadvantages, as well as childhood histories of neglect and sexual abuse. Its normalization of prostitution as work for women, has turned Nevada into a magnet for sex traffickers and prostitution tourists. As a result, the state-wide illegal sex trade, including sex trafficking, in Nevada is the largest in the country. Police found that 30% of women in so-called legal brothels in Nevada had red flags for sex trafficking. States and local communities profiting from prostitution (by tourist revenues), like pimps, are complicit in sexual exploitation. It’s time for Nevada to join the 21st century by recognizing that sexploitation is nobody’s job.

 

Roku: Roku, a leading media streaming company, provides customers with the ability to stream TV, movies, and more. Unfortunately, Roku also facilitates hardcore pornography channels through hundreds of private and hidden channels, and is often featured on pornography websites and at pornography conventions for this feature. This stands in sharp contrast to the policies of other streaming device industry leaders such as Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV.

 

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue: If there were an Olympic medal for sexual objectification, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue would take the gold. The magazine should be more aptly named the Sexploitation Issue. This magazine sends the message that women’s bodies are for public consumption. These images are not about body positivity. They are about feeding male sexual entitlement, and the mega-corporation that profits off of hypersexualizing women. In the aftermath of the sexual abuse scandals that have enmeshed Olympic sports, SI’s flagrant sexual objectification of women—including female athletes—is clearly mainstream misogyny.

 

Steam: #NotAGame! Steam, the online videogame distributor with over 35 million users under the age 18 has an “allow everything” policy for sexually graphic content so long as it isn’t “strictly illegal.” As soon as this new policy launched, the number of games tagged for “nudity” doubled in just four months. Sexually graphic games feature only mild warnings, and often juxtapose graphic sex scenes with violence and promote the dangerous misconception that sexually exploiting others is a harmless game.

 

Twitter: Twitter is a major source of breaking news, but it also hosts vast quantities of hardcore pornography and facilitates prostitution and sex trafficking. While the platform removed the ability to search for these terms directly in video or picture tabs, there are still countless pornographic accounts which often serve as advertisements for pornography websites or online prostitution. When Tumblr announced they would no longer allow pornographic content, thousands of users flocked to Twitter attracted by Twitter’s loose policy.

 

United Airlines: As if limited leg room and baggage space aren’t trouble enough, increasingly air travelers must contend with the sexually charged climate created by public pornography viewing and other sexually harassing and even violent behaviors. United Airlines fails to adequately train aircrews to address the problem of pornography-use on airplanes and the sexually hostile environment that this fosters. While reports of sexual harassment and even assault have increased in the airline industry, United Airlines has not prioritized policies and procedures to keep customers safe. United needs to enable its passengers to #FlyFree from sexploitation.

National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is 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 crisis of pornography.

Further Reading