At the beginning of each year, our friends at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) release their annual “Dirty Dozen List,” a who’s who compilation of leading contributors to sexual exploitation in America. The list highlights major companies and other organizations that are directly choosing to profit off of pornography and/or are contributing to sexual exploitation in society.
Each year, the list pressures companies to remove sexual exploitation from their bottom line. The Washington D.C.-based nonprofit gives an explanation of how these major companies fuel sexual exploitation, and then lists actions that the public can take in order to persuade the “Dirty Dozen” to change their policies and practices. Past successes from this list include Hilton Hotels removing porn from their hotel rooms, getting blinders put on Cosmopolitan magazines in grocery stores, Overstock.com removing pornography from their website, and Facebook making stronger policies to block and restrict child porn as well as sex trafficking.
One of the biggest successes in the history of the “Dirty Dozen” was in the summer of 2014 when Google met with the NCOSE and responded to being on the list by making the huge decision of no longer allowing porn sites to advertise using Google AdWords. Cool, right?
The 2018 “Dirty Dozen” list includes some organizations that have been on the page for several years and have yet to make changes. Curious to see who is on the list this year? Here are a few of the heavy hitters who are contributing to sexual exploitation in our country right now:
Arguably one of the more popular smartphone app used by millennials and teens, Snapchat is frequently used for sexting and sharing child sexual abuse images (i.e. child pornography). Snapchat’s Discovery section is a feature which includes public content from media outlets like Cosmopolitan, frequently containing sexually graphic material that cannot be easily blocked by users. Additionally, its “SnapCash” feature enables users to easily monetize and profit from the exchange of sexual content.
Steam is the Walmart of online video game distribution, with over 35 million users who are minors. Steam offers categories of “nudity” and “sexual content” video games, which include over 780 video games with explicit content, featuring only mild warnings. These games—for example, House Party, Men of Yoshiwara: Ohgiya, Super Star, Porno Studio Tycoon and more—promote the dangerous misconception that sexually exploiting others is harmless and fun.
Backpage.com brings the seedy street corners of America’s red-light districts to home computers. As a classified advertising website known as “the hub” for prostitution advertising, Backpage.com serves as a virtual auction block where sex buyers can shop for human beings for sex from the privacy of their home, office, hotel room, or cell phone. Many of those bought and sold via the website are sexually trafficked women and children. The website facilitates this activity by allegedly editing ads to conceal the illegality of underlying criminal activity and remains immune from prosecution due to the Communications Decency Act Section 230.
The Poster Boys of #MeToo
This year, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation broke with its tradition of placing only mainstream companies or organizations on the Dirty Dozen List, to include four “Poster Boys” of the #MeToo culture of sexual assault and harassment: Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Woody Allen, and James Franco.
These four men aren’t the only ones, unfortunately, who have used their power to both harass and abuse others, in addition to shaping America’s cultural acceptance of sexual exploitation through their professions. There are dozens more.
What YOU Can Do
If you don’t support these companies profiting off porn, say something! SHARE this article to encourage change and help spread the word to make a difference.
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