Payment giant Mastercard has announced that it will require banks to certify that sellers of adult material online have tools in place to monitor, block and remove illegal content.

In December 2020, both Visa and Mastercard stated they will stop processing payments on Pornhub. Mastercard stated it will end support for Pornhub after confirming the presence of “unlawful content.” In addition, Visa said its own investigation is ongoing, but it will suspend payment processing for the time being.

Now, in 2021, and with the news of child abuse and rape stemming from pornography sites, Mastercard is stepping up its scrutiny on working with adult sites.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), the leading national non-partisan organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health harms of pornography, has commended Mastercard for instituting new rules on banks that process payments for pornography tube sites. In a blog post, Mastercard stated that banks “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.”

Mastercard will also require the pornography websites to document the age and identity of anyone depicted in or uploading the content.

“We commend Mastercard for listening to survivors and rejecting profits gained from sexual abuse and exploitation. Mastercard is setting a standard for the entire payment processing industry to curtail weaknesses criminal networks have to-date used with impunity. Visa and Discover must follow this example,” said Dawn Hawkins, CEO of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

Related: Christian Group Responds as New York Times Article Exposes Pornhub

Tube sites like Pornhub have come under fire for profiting from videos depicting child rape, sexual assault, incest, and non-consensually shared content. The New York Times reported, “It [Pornhub] monetizes child rapes, revenge pornography, spy cam videos of women showering, racist and misogynist content, and footage of women being asphyxiated in plastic bags.”

“Given the criminal content on sites like Pornhub, and with payment processing companies like Mastercard creating new stringent requirements, it is hard to fathom how pornography tube sites continue to exist in their current state,” Hawkins added. “We also urge the U.S. Government to follow Mastercard’s example towards confronting horrific abuses on pornography tube sites.”

In recent weeks, multiple lawsuits have been filed against Pornhub parent company, MindGeek, including a class action lawsuit filed against MindGeek by NCOSE, and 70 members of the Canadian Parliament have called for criminal investigations of the company. NCOSE is part of an international effort to Dismantle Pornhub, a campaign to call out entities that support the infrastructure of Pornhub and MindGeek. 

briefing to Congress hosted by 11 survivor and NGO groups to present evidence of the rampant criminality on Pornhub was held last week. NCOSE, together with allies and survivors, has met with Mastercard. 

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