What Mainstream Entities Perpetuate Sexual Exploitation? Non-Profit Releases 2022 ‘Dirty Dozen List’
What mainstream entities perpetuate and profit from sexual exploitation? The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) annually answers that question, calling out 12 of the top offenders. The Center released its 2022 Dirty Dozen List last week. In it, they highlighted 11 companies and one Christian non-profit “for facilitating, enabling, and even profiting from sexual abuse and exploitation.”
The 11 Companies
The list includes some big tech companies we’re used to hearing about: Google, Meta (formerly Facebook), and Twitter. There’s also messaging companies Discord and Kik. Etsy, an online retailer. Reddit, a network of online communities. Netflix, the popular subscription streaming service for films and shows. OnlyFans, a company that allows users to make video content that others have to pay to view. Verisign, a company that operates the registry for all .com and .net domains. And Visa, a financial services company.
In all these cases, there’s a significant online component to the facilitation of sexual abuse asserted by NCOSE.
Google, for example, made the list in part because “Google Search drives people to pornography sites when they search for themes of rape, racism, incest, sexual abuse of minors, and other illegally-themed or socially damaging-themed pornography.” NCOSE explained, “We’ve raised this concern with [them] before and have asked Google to surface articles, resources, or commentary on the harms of racist or rape pornography — yet Google Search serves up the exploitation itself.”
NCOSE says Google could choose not to send users to pornography videos of sexual abuse of children or actual and portrayed rape when users search for it, but it facilitates access to these videos. The world’s leading search engine allows video evidence of rapes and assaults to be looked up for pleasure with porn searches themed around rape and assault of minors, continuing the initial abuse.
Google Has Taken Some Steps
Google is one of several companies who have made the list in years past. The NCOSE thanked Google for the “important steps” they’ve taken, “often in response to NCOSE advocacy.” These include:
improving Chromebook safety for students, establishing policies to remove apps and ads promoting “compensated sexual relationships (i.e. sugar dating)” from GooglePlay, ceasing pornographic Google Ads, expanding WiFi filtering tools, and improving the visibility of the SafeSearch filtering option in Google Images.
The Christian Non-Profit
The entity that doesn’t fit that mold of the other 11 is Kanakuk, a Christian overnight camp for kids in Branson, Missouri. Kanakuk stands out as the only entity on the list that’s not implicated primarily for what they allow to happen online. It also stands out as the only Christian entity and the only non-profit organization.
Several investigative pieces were published on the camp last year. The NCOSE website lists these and says Kanakuk made the list because “Despite the survivors who have come forward, at least a dozen lawsuits, and the news investigations that have uncovered practices at the camp that enabled the reported abuse to fester, Kanakuk has continued to minimize the reality that they have allowed abuse to flourish.”
Kanakuk has a webpage called “Our Response” which provides an apology and explains its plan to address abuse. NCOSE said in its notification letter that Kanakuk’s responses “have only recognized abuse by one person” and that Kanakuk should take several actions including releasing survivors from non-disclosure agreements.
The NCOSE started its annual Dirty Dozen List in 2013 and says these lists have galvanized ordinary people to hold powerful entities accountable and resulted in “major victories.” The Center, based in D.C., says they are “the leading 501c(3) non-profit organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual abuse and exploitation.”