The National Center on Sexual Exploitation released its 2022 Dirty Dozen List yesterday (March 8), calling out 12 companies whose business operations contribute to the spread of exploitative images and videos, human trafficking and abusive materials and behavior.
Netflix, Meta and Etsy are among the tech companies that dominate this year’s list.
“Big Tech holds incredible influence over society, so it’s especially egregious when tech companies normalize, enable and even profit from sexually exploitative practices, policies and products,” said Lina Nealon, director of corporate and strategic initiatives for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “There is no other industry that has the capacity to help billions of people by prioritizing user protection and safety like Big Tech.”
Nealon said the tech companies on the Dirty Dozen List have “enabled child sexual abuse to thrive on their platforms” and have given predators “easy access to children.”
“Those same companies frequently ignore survivors of sex trafficking and abuse who are seeking justice,” Nealon added.
2022 Dirty Dozen List
The 2022 Dirty Dozen List includes:
- Discord – A free voice, video and text chat app that’s used by millions age 13 and up, Discord “consistently fails to address the extensive sexually graphic, violent and exploitative content on its thousands of private and public channels. Inadequate age verification and moderation mean millions of children and teen users are left with near-unmitigated exposure to child sexual abuse material, nonconsensual pornography trading and the predatory grooming rampant on its platform,” the NCOSE report said.
- Etsy – The popular marketplace site was cited by NCSE for selling pornographic, misogynistic and dehumanizing merchandise, including sex dolls that resemble children and young teens.
- Kik – Another free messaging app that many American teens use, NCOSE reports that “law enforcement has been warning for years that Kik is a stomping ground for predators.”
- Netflix – The video streaming service continues to produce shows that include graphic sex scenes, gratuitous nudity and the sexualization of children, according to the NCSE report.
Other tech companies on the list are Google Search, Meta (formerly known as Facebook), OnlyFans, Reddit and Twitter.
Kanakuk Kamps, based in Branson, Missouri, also made the list. The Christian camping organization has been in the spotlight recently amid numerous allegations of sexual abuse at their camps. “Years of child sexual abuse at Kanakuk Kamps have been swept under the rug,” NCOSE reported. “Responsibility, accountability and transparency must be required of institutions like Kanakuk Kamps if we wish to stamp out child sexual abuse.”
Two companies, Verisign and Visa, were cited for providing infrastructure and services that promote child abuse and other forms of exploitation. Verisign manages .com and .net internet domains, while Visa processes payments for businesses like MindGeek, the parent company of Pornhub. Visa also processes payments for brothels and prostitution websites, the NCOSE report said.
Call to action
The Dirty Dozen List began in 2013 in an effort to encourage concerned individuals to take action toward corporations, government agencies and organizations with exploitative policies and practices. Among past entities who made the list and have made strides toward enacting protective measures are Google, TikTok, Hilton Worldwide, Snapchat, Walmart, the U.S. Department of Defense, the NCOSE report said.
Hilton, for example, was among several chains who stopped offering pornography channels as on-demand amenities in their rooms. Snapchat created an in-app reporting tool for harassing and pornographic snaps. Walmart removed Cosmopolitan magazines from checkout areas.
But more work remains, as the 2022 list shows, Nealon said.
“It is time for sexual exploitation to end. The 2022 Dirty Dozen List serves as a challenge to these companies and entities named to live up to their social responsibilities and make crucial changes to stop and prevent harm on their platforms and through their products,” she said. “We urge the public to contact each entity on this list to advocate for urgent reform.”
Click here to find suggestions for how to get involved in NCOSE’s campaign against human exploitation.