Advocates say Mastercard’s new policy harms sex workers – Gay City News

Advocates are voicing criticism in response to a new Mastercard policy that they say unfairly targets sex worker communities by imposing stricter regulations on the purchase of adult content.

In April, Mastercard announced that banks as part of their registration program would be required to confirm that websites selling adult content “monitor, block and remove illegal or unauthorized material” from their platforms. While the company says the program, which went into effect on Oct. 15, does not affect creators of legal and consensus adult content, activists denounce the policy as a form of financial discrimination that creates an uneven playing field. for sex workers.

Under Mastercard’s new policy, banks are required to verify that platforms record the age and identity of all adult artists and have a process to review content before publication. According to the updated guidelines, adult platforms must have a strategy to deal with illegal and non-consensual posts and remove content for people who no longer want their videos on the site.

“This is bad news for many sex workers in hentai, whose security and livelihoods depend on access to financial services and online platforms,” ​​said LaLa Zannell, head of the Trans Justice campaign. ‘ACLU. in an editorial on the ACLU website. “The policy makes it harder for sex workers to do business online and makes sex workers more vulnerable, especially those who are trans women of color. ”

Advocates say these stricter protocols are unrealistic and will not help the target population of the company.

“The stated intent of the policy is to prevent child sexual abuse material and other non-consensual content. But in practice, these requirements are difficult, if not impossible, to meet, ”Zannell wrote in the post.

Cecilia Gentili, a New York sex worker rights activist, shared Zannell’s post on Twitter, writing: “Everyone deserves access to financial services and everyone should be able to make a living, including including sex workers.

AIDS United, a national HIV / AIDS nonprofit organization, stressed that the policy is not helping the epidemic.

“Listening to and meaningfully involving sex workers is paramount in any situation, but especially in our goal of ending the HIV epidemic,” AIDS United noted in a tweet. “New corporate regulations make sex workers feel exploited and in danger. ”

In response, Mastercard dismissed accusations that the policy targets sex workers.

“We welcome the dialogue and different perspectives on our policies and programs, but let us be clear: the allegations of bias against the creators of adult content are patently false,” a spokesperson for Mastercard said in a written statement. “Our actions and business practices against trafficking and exploitation clearly show this. And, as we have shared in our discussions with the groups over the past few months, we are monitoring the implementation of the program so that we can provide further clarification and guidance to acquiring banks and their clients as needed. “

In the post, the ACLU noted that Mastercard’s policy distinguishes adult content despite the emergence of these issues. “on all kinds of websites. The organization also said the policy would “make it much more difficult for platforms to host adult content” and “destabilize the websites that sex workers use for a living.”

As the ACLU calls on Mastercard to reverse its policies, the organization is also calling on other financial services companies to include sex workers in their decision-making process. According to activists, these concerns stem from federal laws such as the Tackling Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and the Stopping Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), which further empower platforms for sex trafficking. content of their sites.

“Mastercard must end its policy of unfair targeting of the adult content industry and ensure equitable access to financial services,” Zannell concluded in the post. “In addition to overturning discriminatory policies, Mastercard must sit down with stakeholders to develop solutions that create stability and reduce harm for sex workers. ”

Over the summer, the ACLU joined with several other sex worker advocates in suspending OnlyFans’ ban on sexually explicit content, which was due to go into effect earlier this month.

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