Editor’s Note: Because of CatholicVote’s principles, this report excludes direct references to the names of any pornographic websites. The article does, however, contain themes which can be very disturbing for readers.
CV NEWS FEED // PayPal stated it would no longer allow its services to be used by a family of leading adult websites Friday, after the publication of a prominent column calling out the payment app’s key role in the sex trafficking and violence that is endemic in the porn industry.
“I just was informed by @PayPal (which my article today noted had buttressed [the pornographic website] by being a main channel to buy advertising on the site) will no longer work with [the website] or its sister sites,” tweeted New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. “That’s a significant blow to its business model.”
In his column, Kristof reported several alarming facts about this particular site, and the so-called “adult entertainment industry” more broadly.
“A major study published in The British Journal of Criminology this year found that one in eight videos on three major tube sites … depicted sexual violence or nonconsensual conduct,” Kristof wrote. “Some show intoxicated or unconscious women or girls being raped.” Others were filmed illegally by voyeurs pointing cameras into private places such as locker rooms or restrooms.
“Racist epithets and humiliation are on display,” too, “as are misogynistic videos of supposed feminists being degraded or tortured.”
Perhaps most disturbing of all, images and videos of child sexual abuse can be found even at the most mainstream of adult websites.
PayPal’s decision this week is only the latest example of a growing number of banking and payment firms bowing to advocates’ pressure to hold adult websites accountable. Earlier this week, Mastercard announced it now requires banks to ensure that any adult websites they work with document the ages and identities of the people involved in the content.
Not Just Money Apps: Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
“The abuses aren’t limited to obscure pornographic websites,” Kristof wrote in his column. “Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and other sites are all sprinkled with child sexual abuse imagery.”
Kristof interviewed one woman whose pimp had posted compromising footage of her online six years ago without her consent. She “said Twitter had ignored her pleas to remove them,” Kristof wrote. “I asked Twitter, and they were removed within hours.” Twitter, in other words, responded to a New York Times reporter, but not the victim.
“Google is a pillar of this sleazy ecosystem” as well, he argued, since “roughly half the traffic reaching” leading pornography websites “appears to come from Google searches.”
Kristof called on “search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing” to “stop leading people to rape videos and stop directing people to websites with a long record of distributing them.”
As Justice Defense Fund founder Laila Mickelwait often argues, there is much progress to be made against the abuses that take place in this industry.
Mickelwait did, however, see PayPal’s Friday decision as a victory.
“This is accountability in action,” she tweeted.