Why?

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 mainstream players in America that perpetuate sexual exploitation—whether that be through pornography, prostitution, sexual objectification, sexual violence and/or sex trafficking.

The Dirty Dozen List is an activism tool that gives back power to individuals who want a voice in the culture. People can participate by taking easy online actions, from sending emails to sharing social media messages.

The Dirty Dozen List has a track record of uniting thousands of individual actions and targeting them to create monumental changes, such as policy improvements at Google, Hilton Worldwide, Verizon, Walmart, and the Department of Defense (see more below.)

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At the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, 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 and where sexual violence or exploitation are not tolerated in any industry. 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, businesses (and this year, individuals) 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 progress, placement on the Watch List also signals our lingering concerns about their commitment to ending sexual exploitation.

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 eight 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 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?

Victories

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.

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 improved usability and tightened the parental control settings for cable users. However, Comcast is still distributing hardcore pornography, which is why it is on the 2018 Dirty Dozen List.

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.

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.

Walmart, RiteAid, Food Lion and other retailers mandated policies to put the sexually explicit Cosmopolitan magazine behind blinders in their retail shops.

Updates

Comcast Executives Are Making Significant Improvement to Digital Well-Being and Safety Features

Comcast NBC Universal executives met with the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) last week to discuss improvements Comcast is making for digital well-being and safety. After three years on our Dirty Dozen List and many letters, emails, and phone calls back and forth with their leadership, Comcast executives told us: “We took your feedback […]

Comcast safety parental controls

Using Social Media to Defend Human Dignity

We have all heard the story of “The Frog Prince” before: an ugly frog is turned into a handsome prince after being kissed by a princess. It’s a fantastic tale that shows even the ‘ugly’ can become beautiful with a little love and dedication. Twitter is one of our frogs, or perhaps birds. It earned […]

Twelve Days of Action: It’s Time to Raise Your Voice

A collective call to action has emerged out of the #MeToo Movement. People are raising their voices against a culture that objectifies women, glorifies male entitlement, and normalizes sexual violence. Despite the progress that has been made so far by these brave voices, there is still more to do. The 2018 Dirty Dozen List includes […]

How Abusive Relationship Erotica Infiltrated a Girl Scouts Camp via iBooks

Before relocating to Washington, DC I was a Girl Scout Camp Counselor in a state down south. Summers of hiking, canoeing, a bunch of s’mores and growing strong girls were unparalleled and incredibly rewarding.  One summer, I became a Unit Leader—female counselors ages 14-17 that help lead energetic yet nervous eight to ten-year-old girls who […]

Top Videogame Company Steam Removing Sexually Graphic Content

According to Gadgets 360, Steam, one of the largest distributors of online games, has contacted several videogame developers asking them to remove sexually graphic content in their games on Steam or face delisting. This sudden action by Steam, owned by Valve, comes after a two year campaign by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation which included […]

VICTORY: Steam to remove sexually explicit and violent videogames from platform

BREAKING NEWS! Steam, the Walmart of online video game distribution, with over 35 million users who are children and teenagers, just contacted several videogame developers asking them to cover sexually graphic content in their games on Steam or face delisting. This sudden action by Valve, parent company of Steam, comes after a two-year aggressive campaign […]

Steam Announces Release of a New App, Makes it Easier to Access Exploitative Content

Valve Corporation, the parent company of Steam, recently announced the upcoming launch of a new app that will enable users to access videogames from their Steam libraries on mobile devices and tablets. This new app creates even more ways for people, especially children, to view the hypersexualized and exploitative content that is still easily accessible […]

Steam app video game

Victory: Amazon Halts Sale of Child Sex Dolls

We congratulate Amazon today for removing the anatomically correct child sex dolls that have been for sale on its website. The sale of such dolls and similar material has earned Amazon a spot on the National Center’s Dirty Dozen List for the past two years. We also congratulate the thousands of supporters and activists in […]

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