[View the 2018 Dirty Dozen List here.]
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?
This staple of the supermarket checkout lane is a visually hypersexualized and verbally pornographic magazine. With inexhaustible predictability, Cosmopolitan accosts shoppers with covers pronouncing dozens of recycled “sex tricks” and flaunting an endless supply of hypersexualized cover models. Within the Cosmo magazine, and increasingly on its website, it relentlessly glamorizes things like public, anal, group, and violent sex to its young female readership.
For the past ten 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 has 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 significantly improved usability and parental control settings for cable and Internet users. Comcast executives told NCOSE “We heard your feedback and made improvements.” While NCOSE is still petitioning Comcast to stop selling pornography, these important innovations make Comcast a leader on family safety within the telecommunications industry.
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. The compliance progress is on-going across Hyatt properties.
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.
RiteAid and Food Lion mandated policies to put the sexually explicit Cosmopolitan magazine behind blinders in their retail shops so that customers are not forced to view Cosmopolitan’s sexually degrading and objectifying themes.
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 blocking direct searches for porn within the “Photos” and “Videos” tabs, although not in the general search tab. Twitter must do much more to curb sexually exploitive content, 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. While we wait to see if the policy is implemented, Verizon is on NCOSE’s 2018 Dirty Dozen Watch List.
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.
We have an exciting update from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation’s recent meeting with top executives from Comcast here in Washington DC. Right away they told us about how they took our feedback and concerns from our meeting last year and how they have made key improvements based on that feedback! While we are…
After 10,397 emails were sent to Netflix by grassroots supporters through NCOSE’s campaign demanding that Netflix institute better parental controls and content warnings on their platform, they took a step forward! Netflix, the household streaming service with over 150 million users, has had a problem with making itself safe for families of all ages and…
On September 17, 2019, 20 child safety and anti-trafficking organizations sent a letter below to Congressional committee leaders raising serious alarms about Google and Mozilla/Cloudfare’s plans to centralize control of the internet’s Domain Name System (DNS) system in a way that could undermine or block online child protection tools and services. Google and Mozilla/Cloudfare have…
This panel analyses the harms of both legal and deregulated (or fully decriminalized) prostitution on prostituted persons, sex trafficked persons, and the culture. Donna M. Hughes is a Professor at the University of Rhode Island (URI) in Gender and Women’s Studies Program and the Criminology and Criminal Justice Program. She holds the Eleanor M. and…
According to an investigation from The Wall Street Journal, Amazon is reportedly selling thousands of products that are mislabeled, banned, or declared unsafe by federal agencies. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has also done an investigation into Amazon and found that the company is also selling sexually exploitive products. Amazon has shirked its responsibility to remain…
HBO’s Euphoria Claims “Nudes are the Currency of Love” and Promotes Other Sexually Exploitive Themes
HBO is an American premium cable television network that has a long history of consistently producing content which normalizes rape myths, sexual violence, and commercial sexual exploitation through sexually exploitive depictions of sex and sexual violence. This has been displayed over the years through shows like Game of Thrones and The Deuce. After being named…
Law Firm Representing Sexual Assault Victims Against Major Corporation Receives Award from National Center on Sexual Exploitation
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation is set to award the law firm Laffey, Bucci & Kent, LLP with its Civilian Leadership Award at the 2019 Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation Global Summit the week of June 10. “Laffey, Bucci & Kent, LLP is standing up to the Goliath of Massage Envy—a multi-million dollar corporation—in…
Originally published in The Nevada Independent By Jackie Valley The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has released a video attacking — and calling for an end to — Nevada’s decades-old legal prostitution industry. The two-minute video features women who say they were held hostage, sold for sex or trafficked as children in Nevada, where brothels are legal in…
STATEMENT: 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue: Exploiting Diversity to Sanitize Its Legacy of Sexual Objectification
Washington, DC –The latest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue will hit stores next week. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) denounces Sports Illustrated for its legacy of sexual objectification of women and its crass exploitation of cultural diversity to sanitize its actions. Hijab and burkini model gimmicks notwithstanding, the 2019 Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue carries…
You promote what you permit. Unfortunately, in the case of Amazon, that includes incest-themed pornographic books. If someone makes the innocent search “stepdad daughter” on Amazon.com, the online marketplace returns highly explicit “erotica” featuring themes of incest on the first page of results. This material is often highly graphic, includes manipulation from positions of authority,…