TrafficJunky is the First of Many Ties Visa Must Cut with Exploitative Pornography Industry
WASHINGTON, DC (August 4, 2022) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is relieved Visa is finally cutting ties with MindGeek, given evidence of child sexual abuse material and other crimes on MindGeek-owned Pornhub and other pornography websites.
Today, Visa CEO Alfred F. Kelly Jr. announced that the company suspended TrafficJunky’s Visa acceptance privileges. TrafficJunky is MindGeek’s advertising platform. Mastercard also announced it is suspending TrafficJunky’s acceptance privileges.
This news comes after an unprecedented Federal District Court ruling and enormous public pressure. If the allegations against Visa in the current lawsuit are truly, “in direct contradiction to Visa’s values and purpose,” NCOSE says Visa must cut ties with MindGeek’s biggest competitors, pornography tube sites XVideos and XHamster.
“Visa long supported the monetization of child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, rape, and image-based abuse images found on MindGeek-owned pornography websites by continuing to process payments for the company despite being put on notice by NCOSE and others of the abuse. Now, Visa has taken an incremental step, but they must do more,” said Dawn Hawkins, CEO of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “If Visa cares about these issues as much as they say they do, Visa must suspend all payment processing services for XVideos, XHamster, and all pornography tube sites as well as their advertising arms, not only TrafficJunky.”
“Our outreach to Visa in early 2020 and in subsequent years made the company aware of the criminality that exists on MindGeek platforms. Despite the fact that Visa opened an investigation into Pornhub at NCOSE’s urging, it wasn’t until the New York Times published its December 2020 exposé revealing child sexual abuse material proliferates on the site that Visa finally acted to cut ties with Pornhub. However, Visa reinstated its relationship with Pornhub’s parent company, MindGeek, and continued to process payments for MindGeek’s other exploitative pornography sites. Until today’s announcement, Visa has processed advertisement purchases (ads that may run alongside abuse videos) through MindGeek-owned TrafficJunky. Advertising is estimated to make up 50% of MindGeek’s revenue.
“Again, Visa is acting due to immense public pressure. MindGeek’s main competitors, XVideos and XHamster, face similar allegations of rampant abuse and exploitation and Visa has been silent regarding them. Following the New York Times article about Pornhub, in April 2021 the New York Times published a scathing and chilling piece targeting XVideos detailing numerous accounts of rape and child sexual abuse content rampant on the site. Meanwhile, XHamster is being sued in federal court on behalf of 9 women who were secretly recorded in a college locker room while showering and changing and the videos were posted to Pornhub and XHamster. Neither XVideos nor XHamster have meaningful age or consent verification. Therefore, Visa should live up to its ethical responsibilities, and its own purported values, and cease facilitating payments for all of these pornography platforms, including their advertising arms and affiliates, where exploitation has been proven to be rife. Visa must use its influence to require pornography sites to take common sense measures against illegal and abusive content, such as verifying age and consent of all persons depicted. In 2021, Mastercard instituted new policies for combatting sex trafficking and child abuse in pornography. It is past time for Visa to follow Mastercard’s lead,” Hawkins said.
Earlier this week, NCOSE commended a judge’s ruling finding that a child sexual abuse survivor’s lawsuit against Visa for enabling her abuse to be monetized on Pornhub will be allowed to proceed. In the opinion, the judge wrote, “Visa is being kept in this case because it is alleged to have continued to recognize as a merchant an immense, well known, and highly visible business that it knew used its websites to host and monetize child porn.”
“A child’s sexual abuse was posted to Pornhub, and in a landmark decision, a judge is allowing Visa to be sued for conspiring with MindGeek to profit from her abuse. Visa continued to process payments for Pornhub and other MindGeek-owned websites, even after it was aware of the widespread abuses occurring on Pornhub. It is right that Visa should be held responsible for its role in child sex trafficking on Pornhub,” Hawkins said.
NCOSE is part of an international effort to Dismantle Pornhub, a campaign to call out entities like Visa that support the infrastructure of Pornhub and MindGeek.
NCOSE’s UK-based subsidiary, the International Centre on Sexual Exploitation, along with 62 survivors and advocates representing eleven countries, sent a March 2021 letter to Visa requesting it cut ties with all MindGeek-owned entities.
Visa is on the 2022 Dirty Dozen List of mainstream contributors to sexual exploitation.
NCOSE is co-counsel on a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of two survivors of childhood sex trafficking whose videos and images of their abuse were posted on Pornhub and other MindGeek-owned sites. In February 2022, the judge ruled against MindGeek’s motion to dismiss, enabling the lawsuit to move forward.
NCOSE is encouraging citizens to ask Visa to cut ties with MindGeek, XVideos, XHamster and other pornography tube sites by taking this action: https://ncose.salsalabs.org/visa_ddl2021/index.html.
About National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)
Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national non-partisan 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.