WASHINGTON (BP) – Mainstream companies such as Google Chromebooks and OnlyFans are using the COVID-19 pandemic to further facilitate and profit from sexual exploitation, a watchdog group said in its 2021 list of the top 12 abusers.
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) made the accusation Tuesday (Feb. 24) in releasing its latest Dirty Dozen List.
Amazon, Chromebooks, Discord, EBSCO Information Services, Netflix, Nevada’s prostitution industry, OnlyFans, Reddit, SeekingArrangement, Twitter, Verisign and Wish comprise NCOSE’s 2021 list.
“Most of the targets greatly benefited from the pandemic, like Google, that saw shipments of Chromebooks double in 2020, but refused to proactively turn on safeguards for the millions of devices going to schools – leaving kids at risk of exposure to pornography and even predators,” said Lina Nealon, NCOSE director of corporate and strategic initiatives. “Others, like OnlyFans, took advantage of the increased vulnerabilities caused by COVID-19. Another target, Wish, irresponsibly advertises on Pornhub, thereby keeping this known exploiter in business.”
The so-called Dirty Dozen “facilitate, normalize and even benefit from sexual exploitation, child sex abuse, rape, sexual objectification, prostitution and sex trafficking and pornography,” Nealon said, otherwise describing the companies as powerful politically, economically, socially and culturally, and ones that “you and I are probably using on a weekly if not daily basis.”
NCOSE offers advocacy tools including a prayer team, and urges the public and government to hold the companies accountable by urging policy changes and demanding that they advance a “culture of dignity.”
“The FBI and INTERPOL at the onset of COVID were warning of increased risks that in fact became reality of predatory behavior, grooming, trafficking and sexual abuse of children. These issues are beyond any individual family, community, school district or nonprofit to tackle,” Nealon said. “And these entities have a social obligation to do something, especially now, and they must do so with the urgency that’s appropriate to the gravity of these harms.”
Concurrently, NCOSE released a watch list naming three companies – Snapchat, TikTok, and Visa – described as having “made some improvements within the last year, but still have steps to take to fully confront and end harmful business practices with the appropriate urgency these issues demand.”
Among NCOSE’s accusations:
Amazon “peddles endless amounts of sexual exploitation” through its Twitch social media platform, sells incest-themed porn, sex dolls and photography books eroticizing child nudity as an online retailer, offers Amazon Prime Video with “unnecessary, gratuitous nudity and simulated sex acts,” offers thousands of hardcore porn and prostitution websites through Amazon S3 and Amazon Web Services, and promotes faulty parental control options.
Chromebooks had 120 million users worldwide of G Suite Education before the COVID-19 pandemic, with estimated use of Google Chromebook doubling in 2020. But “Google has refused to take simple measures that would significantly reduce kids’ exposure to pornography and predators.”
Discord, “a virtual meeting spot where sexual exploitation and abuse thrive,” must do more to protect children from the exploiters the site attracts. Many use the site to “groom children for sexual abuse or sex trafficking, and to trade pornography – including child sexual abuse materials, non-consensually recorded and/or shared pornography, and more.”
EBSCO, which has made significant strides in protecting children using its online learning resources, continues to make sexually explicit content easily accessible by children on its websites.
Netflix, growing exponentially during the pandemic with more than 200 million users globally, offers sexually explicit content that sexualizes minors.
In Nevada, sexual violence, racism and socioeconomic disadvantages are “inextricable from the prostitution experience” available through legalized brothel prostitution in select counties.
The full list of accusations is available at DirtyDozenList.com.
NCOSE promotes itself as a nonprofit, nonpartisan and nonsectarian group working to end sexual exploitation while focusing on, among many problems, child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, prostitution, porn, child-on-child harmful sexual behavior, compulsive sexual behaviors and men’s violence against women, as well as the intersection of these issues with technology.