After Traffickinghub Pressure, Mastercard Enacts Policies to Eliminate Porn of Trafficking, Rape, Child Abuse

Today is a historic day in the fight against exploitative porn! Mastercard will now require robust age verification and documented consent for all porn sites globally. This will compel banks to ensure the legitimate consent practices of their merchants before processing any payments. With Mastercard holding a 30% global share of all payment processing (outside of China), this is no small change.

This breakthrough is a direct result of efforts by the Traffickinghub movement, which Exodus Cry has advanced globally, and other allies who’ve joined in pressuring Mastercard to require age and consent verification.

Mastercard’s Senior Vice President of Franchise Customer Engagement & Performance, John Verdeschi, said in an April 2021 blog post, “The banks that connect merchants to our network will need to certify that the seller of adult content has effective controls in place to monitor, block and, where necessary, take down all illegal content.”

The crackdown is a huge win for porn regulation, which has almost been non-existent up until this point. Despite the major backlash from the porn industry, we commend Mastercard for their stance and congratulate them on demanding better standards where the law has not yet caught up.

Why is it a big deal?

Since the introduction of video “tube” sites, the creation and distribution of porn has become a multi-billion dollar industry. Sites like Pornhub, who accumulate millions of visitors a day, have created an online world in which anybody with a phone can upload pornographic content without verifying the age or consent of anyone in the videos.

This means that revenge porn, child sexual abuse material, and non-consensual sexual material can be among the most-viewed videos on these sites, bringing in money for porn sites and criminals alike.

As a result, the site has become infested with illegal content including documented cases of real rape, incest, child abuse, and trafficking. Pornhub is one of many porn sites that have virtually no restrictions on who can view, download, or upload content.

RELATED: Pornhub Concedes to Major Demands of Traffickinghub Movement After NY Times Exposé

This means that revenge porn, child sexual abuse material, and non-consensual sexual material can be among the most-viewed videos on these sites, bringing in money for porn sites and criminals alike. Even on sites that require age verification for the uploader, it’s a gross bare minimum that has left massive room for illegal activity to thrive.

So, why now?

In 2020, Mastercard and VISA were put under immense pressure, by Exodus Cry and our allies, to stop processing payments for Pornhub because of their complicity in criminal porn.

Sign the petition calling for required age verification, with ID, on all sites hosting porn.

After a New York Times article, by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof, further called out these companies for not taking any action, both Mastercard and VISA stopped all payments through Pornhub in what was a major win for the Traffickinghub movement.

Mastercard has now taken it a step further. In April 2021, they announced their new measures to protect their network by preventing illegal adult content. Their statement read, “In the past few years, the ability to upload content to the internet has become easier than ever. All someone needs is a smartphone and a Wi-Fi connection. Now, our requirements address the risks associated with this activity.”

RELATED: Exposing the Myth that OnlyFans is Safe

Mastercard has come under harsh criticism by those in the porn industry, claiming the credit card company is removing their main source of income. When OnlyFans announced their decision to remove all explicit content (which they later reversed), many blamed Mastercard for not caring about the content creators.

It is important to understand that Mastercard is not banning porn from their network. They are willing to work with companies that uphold their very reasonable requirements. They are calling for the verification of the age and consent of every person featured in pornographic content, and a robust process to be in place for illegal content to be taken down quickly.

In a multi-billion dollar industry that profits off of the selling of sex, age and consent rules are a no-brainer.

These are rules that protect all people, including porn performers and content creators. Those who criticize Mastercard’s new policy are either ignorant of the widespread sexual exploitation of vulnerable individuals in porn or are feigning ignorance because they believe it will limit their bottom line.

In a multi-billion dollar industry that profits off of the selling of sex, age and consent rules are a no-brainer. High-risk industries require strong safety precautions. Mastercard’s rules are simply compelling the porn industry to catch up with other industries’ standards. When we’re talking about someone’s real rape and abuse being uploaded to a website for millions of people to get off to, requiring consent verification feels like a small price to pay.

Mastercard is now helping to strangle the profitability of traffickers, rapists, and pedophiles. We are celebrating this historic victory!

There is still more to be done.

Aside from the criminal content hosted on countless porn sites, virtually none of them verify the age of their viewers beyond the click of an 18+ button. This means that any child with a device can access the most graphic, and potentially criminal, sexual content within just seconds.

We are calling for age verification, with ID, to be required for all visitors to porn sites. Will you join the movement to Protect Children Not Porn? Click below and sign the petition.

Sign the Petition

One of the greatest ways you can make an impact is by joining Exodus Cry’s dedicated community of Premium Partners who are giving $10/month, or more, to sustain this long fight to end commercial sexual exploitation. Will you join Exodus Cry? Start here.

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