[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. Also, as of November 2019, Twitter requires pornography to be marked as “sensitive media” to somewhat curb unintentional exposure to it. Twitter still must do much more to curb sexually exploitive content, but these are steps in the right direction.
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.
Excerpt from ky3 Some Springfield parents are concerned about inappropriate material that’s accessible on their children’s school-issued Chromebooks. They contacted KY3 News about those concerns, specifically that pornography being viewed by young children in an ad at the bottom of a web page. “I started teaching in public schools over 20 years ago, and for…
With more than 500 million active users worldwide, TikTok is a social media video app for creating and sharing short videos and the app is well known for being popular with minors. TikTok has been placed on the 2020 Dirty Dozen List due to lack of moderation and insufficient safety controls, which put minors at risk of exposure…
A college student from Tulane University shares her story about how she has seen firsthand how pervasive the misinformation about “sugar dating” is and how she has taken action on her campus and in her peer groups to spread the truth about the harms inherent to “sugaring” a.k.a. sugar baby and sugar daddy “relationships.” Learn…
The credit card company, Visa, is partnering with the pornography industry by processing payments for pornography with themes of sexual violence, racism, and incest – and sometimes even videos of real-life sex trafficking victims. It is impossible for the pornography industry to judge from the content of a video or image whether force, fraud, psychological…
By Tamar Arenson In a generation of swiping right, sexting and redefined relationships, Sugar Dating has emerged as the new frontier for relationships. Described as mutually beneficial and an exercise of agency for women, Sugar Dating is marketed as relationships in which young, attractive women can meet “experienced men” who will provide everything from mentorship…
Sugar dating is marketed as relationships in which young, attractive women can meet “experienced men” who will provide everything from mentorship to all expenses paid lavish vacations. In this system, men are encouraged to engage in no strings attached relationships with beautiful young women. Meanwhile, “sugar babies” are told that this experience will empower them and…
House Party is described by its creators as “a sexually charged, 3D point-and-click adventure”. In the game, you as the player are at the titular house party where you proceed to choose your own adventure…an adventure that includes getting in fights, groping women, masturbating wherever you please, and coercing women to have sex with you….
The credit card company, Visa, is partnering with the pornography industry by processing payments for pornography with themes of sexual violence, racism, incest, and the fetishization of minors. By doing so, Visa is supporting and normalizing the pornography industry, despite its sexually exploitive nature including harm to performers, sex trafficking victims, and even large scale public…
Excerpt from AP COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Lawyers representing human trafficking victims want a single federal judge to oversee multiple lawsuits alleging that major hotel chains have ignored human trafficking taking place on their premises. Attorneys have asked a federal panel to consolidate at least 21 such lawsuits pending in 11 states into a single…
Excerpt from WKOW.com article. A Madison woman who escaped human trafficking is sharing her story, hoping to help others do the same. In 2012, Lexie Weems was a struggling 21-year-old who had gotten into some trouble. “I was just in a real vulnerable state and I think that was his perfect time to come into…