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PayPal severs ties with pornhub

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation is honored to recognize PayPal in July 2020’s Dignity Defense Alert for severing ties with Pornhub in an industry-leading move that proved PayPal truly does put “people at the center of everything [they] do.” 

By ceasing to process payments to Pornhub, PayPal hampered a predatory corporation’s ability to perpetuate and profit from abuse and exploitation.

Pornhub’s economic model incentivizes the creation of highly exploitive, derogatory, and discriminatory pornography which often depict themes of extreme violence against women and children, racism, and incest. Even more harrowing, an increasing number of videos depicting actual instances of rape, child trafficking, and revenge pornography have been identified on their site with ease due to inadequate verification for age or consent of those featured.

One such victim, 14-year-old Rose Kalemba, was kidnapped at knifepoint and sexually assaulted for 12 hours. The rapists then proceeded to post the video of her rape and torture on Pornhub. Despite months of Rose pleading with the website to take down the video, it wasn’t until legal action was pursued that it was finally removed—after millions had the opportunity to view and re-exploit her trauma. Of course, due to downloading capabilities, her videotaped torture is now available in perpetuity. Rose’s story is far from the exception and the harm to victims that Pornhub profits from is clear. 

Increasingly even so-called porn “performers” are coming forward and exposing the inherent degradation and trauma that pervades the porn industry and uncovering what is truly happening behind the camera—even when the material is billed as “consensual.” Famous for her many appearances in pornographic content, Jenna Jameson has emerged as a leading voice against the porn industry and Pornhub itself. Jameson has not shied away from blunt assessment of reality and recently tweeted “PornHub profits off of the rape and torture of women and children. Take a stand against these evil monsters at MindGeek (their parent company). Stop the use of Pornhub!” 

Cutting ties with Pornhub demonstrated that PayPal does not support the abuse and exploitation of vulnerable adults and children. Unfortunately, many other other credit card companies are still processing payments for Pornhub and other porn sites.

The International Centre on Sexual Exploitation in the UK (a subsidiary of US-based NCOSE) has launched a grassroots campaign with human rights activists from 13 different countries calling credit card executives to stop propping up the porn industry. Haley McNamara, director of ICOSE, shared that “Major credit card companies continue to provide critical infrastructure to the exploitative pornography industry. As international anti-exploitation leaders, we urgently call on these financial institutions to cease processing payments and thereby refuse to aid human rights violations.”

We are grateful to PayPal for setting an industry standard, forgoing a lucrative relationship, and placing people over potential profits. We are hopeful others will soon follow suit.

Would you help us encourage them to do so? We have three quick and easy-to-use Action Steps you can take right now.

ACTION 1: Share this article on social media.

ACTION 2: Thank PayPal for cutting ties with Pornhub 

The Dignity Defense Alert is a new monthly campaign to recognize the people, companies, and nonprofits who are taking action to defend human dignity from any form of sexual abuse or exploitation.

In today’s world, it is easy to focus on those who are doing wrong and spend the entirety of our capacity on those who are abusing, or facilitating exploitation, or failing to prevent harm. There is incredible value in raising awareness and taking action on those issues. We at NCOSE focus much of our time and resources on doing just that. But we believe there is also value in acknowledging and raising awareness regarding the countless individuals and entities who are doing the right thing and fighting the good fight. While not every entity we recognize in the course of this campaign is perfect in this regard, we want to thank those that are taking important steps forward. 

We want to celebrate heroes who do what is right, and we want to applaud every milestone that we can in the journey towards a world free from sexual abuse and exploitation. Doing so both recognizes progress and encourages progress by holding up leaders and examples for others to follow, whether that is in the realm of corporations, NGOs, or individual advocates.

Do you have an individual, company, or nonprofit you would like to nominate to be recognized in a Dignity Defense Alert? Learn more and nominate entities here.

This article was first published by the National Coalition on Sexual Exploitation.

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