The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has released its 2019 “Dirty Dozen List.”
The list details “mainstream” companies and entities that are considered to be “facilitators of sexual exploitation in our society and culture.”
This year’s list includes some new faces — a state, a leading massage parlor chain and an airline — as well as several tech and media companies that continue to be called out by the organization purveying sexual violence and exploitation.
NCOSE is a U.S.-based non-profit advocacy group that seeks to expose “the links between all forms of sexual exploitation.” The organization has produced the list every year since 2013.
The list aims to pressure and “shame” these entities to stop facilitating sexual exploitation. In some cases, the list has produced noticeable results and changes in organizational policy.
“No corporation should profit from or facilitate sexual exploitation,” Haley Halverson, NCOSE vice president of advocacy and outreach, said prior to the press conference unveiling the report.
“Unfortunately, many well-established brands, companies, and organizations in America do just that. Since 2013, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation has published an annual Dirty Dozen List to name and shame the mainstream players in America that perpetuate sexual exploitation — whether that be through sex trafficking, prostitution, sexual objectification, sexual violence and/or pornography.”
Following are the 12 entities deemed “major, mainstream facilitators of sexual exploitation in the United States.”
Nevada is the only government entity to ever be featured on the Dirty Dozen List. According to NCOSE, the state has become a “home base” for pimps and sex traffickers. Nevada is also the only state in the entire United States where prostitution is legal. The organization accuses Nevada of legally sanctioning “male sexual entitlement.”
“The most emblematic measure of women’s true status in any society is reflected in its prostitution laws,” Lisa Thompson, NCOSE vice president of policy and research, said during the press conference unveiling the report. “Are women public sexual commodities under the law or not? In Nevada, of course, the answer to that question is yes.”
Nevada has the highest rates of an illegal sex trade in the country, adjusted for population. It is 63 percent higher than the next highest state of New York and double that of Florida. Additionally, a recent audit of legal brothels in Lyon County discovered that 34 percent of Lyon County’s legal sex workers showed signs of human trafficking.
The country’s largest chain of franchised massage spas, Massage Envy, has found its way on the Dirty Dozen List as it is being sued by hundreds of women for “failing to take appropriate measures when a massage therapist sexually harasses or assaults a client.”
The company has over 1,270 spa locations, employs over 25,000 massage therapists and estheticians and has over 1.5 million members in 49 states.
“Among a number of poor policies, the company has hidden clauses in customer agreements which force women to surrender their rights and many former employees report being trained to do all in their power not to encourage police to show up at their location,” NCOSE Executive Director Dawn Hawkins said during the press conference.
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SWIMSUIT ISSUE
Although Sports Illustrated is known for telling the stories of athletes and providing hard-hitting sports journalism, every year it releases its annual Swimsuit Issue.
Since 1964, the magazine has produced an edition featuring photos of female supermodels dressed in very slim bikinis and in some cases topless. More recently, the issue has featured risqué photos of prominent female athletes.
NCOSE claims that the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue “sends the message that women’s bodies are for public consumption.”
“These images are not about empowerment at all. They are about feeding male sexual entitlement, and the mega-corporation that are profiting off of hypersexualizing women,” Halverson said. “We have to recognize that women who have achieved remarkable athletic feats do not deserve to be put back into the box of male sexual accessibility in order to promote body positivity or empowerment.”
With over 51 million subscribers in the United States, Netflix is one of the leading subscription online media streaming services. The platform is a great platform to watch movies and original series. However, Netflix is being criticized for normalizing “sexual exploitation and objectification.”
According to Hawkins, Netflix produces media portraying gratuitous nudity, graphic sex acts and even graphic depictions of sexual assault.
NCOSE takes issue with shows like “13 Reasons Why” in which multiple episodes depicted graphic sexual assault and showed nudity of actresses who are supposed to be teenagers.
Another show of concern for NCOSE is “Baby,” which follows a group of teenagers on their quest to “buck social norms through prostitution.”
“It portrays underage prostitution, which by definition is sex trafficking, as an edgy coming of age story summarizing trafficking of some of our most vulnerable,” Hawkins contended.
NCOSE claims that the web giant Google has “failed to prioritize the digital well-being of its users through Google Chromebooks used in schools, Google Images, and YouTube.”
“There is so much bad content being pulled in from Google images, often directly from hardcore pornography websites,” Hawkins declared. “If a child were to look up the term ‘sex’ in Google images, … kids are going to be exposed within a fraction of a second to hardcore pornographic images. These images are depicting sex acts, often with the focus on genitalia. Many of the images that populate just with the term ‘sex’ depict group gangbangs, depicting rape. This is what our young people are seeing when they are simply looking to understand [the term.]”
Another leading media streaming company, Roku is again listed on the Dirty Dozen List because of the fact that it is a popular way for people to get backdoor access to hardcore pornographic material on their televisions.
Through the use of private Roku channels on the open-platform streaming devices, porn companies have created hundreds of private porn channels accessible through the devices.
“Pornography channels on Roku depict teen, incest, slavery and violent themes,” she warned. “This confederation between Roku and the pornography industry contrasts to practices of other streaming device industry leaders such as Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV, which exclude pornography from their platforms.”
The social media giant Twitter is being called out for its “non-existent” standards when it comes to the sharing of pornographic hashtags and images as well as its facilitation of sex trafficking.
“[Twitter] facilitates prostitution and sex trafficking and hosts vast quantities of hardcore pornography,” Thompson said during the press conference. “Twitter is being used to advertise prostituted persons and sex trafficking victims via tweets that feature pornographic images or hashtags that, for instance, go to webcam sites. Sometimes these tweets include offers to meet in person for so-called escort services. Sometimes they ask users to follow and pay for nude images and videos and live streaming.”
The online video streaming service Steam is used by millions of kids nationwide. While it provides access to many of the most popular video games on the market, it also provides access to thousands of games in the categories of “sexual content” and “nudity.”
According to Halverson, some of the games that the platform sells feature the theme of blackmailing girls to have sex, having sex with child-like characters and performing lude sexual acts in front of women who are non-consenting, rape and stripping.
One of the nation’s leading airlines, United Airlines is receiving scrutiny for its “systemic outbreaks of inappropriate crew reactions to sexual harassment on their airplanes.”
“While cases of these actions have occurred on virtually every airline, United aircrews have received especially ineffective training,” Halverson said. “For example, Sara Nelson, a United Airlines flight attendant and president of the union, told CNN, ‘In my 22 years as a flight attendant I have never taken part in a conversation in training or otherwise about how to handle sexual harassment or sexual assault.’”
“This has included airline employees failing to intervene in several cases of men performing sexual acts on themselves while watching pornography, including one case where a woman reported this and the crew joked, ‘what perfume were you wearing?’” Halverson recalled.
Home Box Office Inc., better known by the acronym HBO, is one of the nation’s leading premier subscription cable television networks. The network is known for its adult-themed entertainment.
While the network produces original series and provides popular movies for its customers to watch, many of its programs “incorporate graphic sex scenes and eroticized rape scenes,” according to NCOSE.
Such programs include “The Deuce,” “True Blood” and “Game of Thrones.”
EBSCO INFORMATION SERVICES
Many students who search for scholarly articles to cite in their school papers are familiar with using subscription library databases like EBSCONET and EBSCOhost.
Although EBSCO advertises its databases as being “curriculum-appropriate content,” some of its high school databases contain sexually graphic materials.
“In a statement on September 27, 2018, EBSCO said that it is working to ‘ensure that questionable content does not appear in [EBSCO’s] elementary, middle school, and high school databases,’” The Dirty Dozen List explains. “While EBSCO has made progress in elementary and middle school databases, there is still more work to be done in high school databases. Far from merely ‘questionable,’ these kinds of articles are clearly salacious and not academic in nature.”
Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, is promoting materials that sexualize children and normalize “the dehumanization and sexual commodification of women,” the Dirty Dozen List argues.
Amazon does this through the sale of certain products and through its media streaming service Amazon Prime.
“Amazon Prime inserts unnecessary, gratuitous nudity and simulated sex scenes into many of its original programmings, and provides faulty tools for blocking unwanted recommendations for sexually explicit programs,” the list adds.
“Items for sale on Amazon include child-like sex dolls, photography books with eroticized child nudity, pornographic magazines, and clothing items, and more. Their Kindle e-reader is riddled with sexually explicit content containing incest, babysitter, and group-sex themes.”