Experts say OnlyFans is a “gateway activity” to exploitation

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The power of pornography over our society was again evident last month when the popular London subscription service for content creators OnlyFans announced it was banning “sexually explicit” content from its platform – and abruptly reversing course following criticism from creators and sex-positive advocates alike.

While proponents of consent-creation celebrated the reversal, other proponents and experts fear that OnlyFans’ seemingly unchecked platform will lead to further exploitation of featured people.

“We live in the world that created pornography” Catherine A. MacKinnon, a lawyer, scholar, writer, teacher and activist who writes for a comment from the New York Times.For more than three decades, researchers have documented that it desensitizes consumers to violence and spreads rape myths and other lies about women’s sexuality. “

“It normalizes itself, becomes more pervasive, intrusive and dangerous, surrounds us more and more intimately and cultivates the culture in such a way that it becomes difficult to even recognize its damage,” MacKinnon, who also teaches law at the University of Michigan and Harvard Law School, further detailed.

OnlyFans logo through their website.

OnlyFans said the motive for the now withdrawn ban was to work with credit card companies on payment processing concerns.

First, MacKinnon argues that the content on OnlyFans and similar websites cannot classify a person as a “sex worker” and writes that what they do for some is not sex “in the sense of intimacy” or “in the feeling” of productivity and dignity. “

In other words, for every independent and consenting creator of content on similar platforms, there are also individuals who are abused and traded in front of the camera.

Legitimizing untested sexual abuse on webcam sites like OnlyFans can be detrimental for many, MacKinnon points out, especially when similar platforms experience a boom in creators as the economy is seductive to those struggling financially.

Sex work and the pandemic

During the global pandemic, almost every industry has experienced pressures and difficulties, but sex work has been challenged seriously considering that many people outside of their household are not allowed to physically interact, whether the rules are enforced through government bans or private companies. the conversation details.

“The virus is a disaster for customer-facing companies – and sex work is no different,” says Goddess Cleo, a dominatrix from London who was recently spoken to the BBC Discussion of the amazing increase in new women visiting an online platform to make money from explicit content.

Max Bennett, from the stripchat website where audiences pay for livestream traffic, also spoke to the BBC, saying, “Adult performers traditionally switch to livecams”. [markets] have largely closed. ”

This increase in Creator has been documented across the board.

The US-based live streaming site Chaturbate has reported a 75 percent increase in the number of sex workers signing up since the outbreak began – an increase faster than the increase in audience traffic.

Much of this surge has to do with stories spreading like wildfire on social media about ordinary people and celebrities who seemingly hit the jackpot by posting on these websites like celebrities Jessika Power revealing too Yahoo! lifestyle that she made $ 50,000 with OnlyFans after only having an account for five days.

But much of that is smoke in mirrors, as a comprehensive study by Influencer Marketing Hub found that the average OnlyFans user makes $ 180 a month and most accounts take home less than $ 145 over the same period. The truth is, the top one percent of OnlyFans’ content creators make 33 percent of all money on the platform. AfroTech reported earlier this month.

While many proponents of sex positives would argue that it should be revered as a shameless job of making honest money, proponents of privacy and anti-abuse argue that online pornography is an “entry-level activity” to exploitation.

Sexual exploitation on the internet

MacKinnon states in her editorial that OnlyFans has made serious allegations related to. were collected insufficient screening for content depicting incest, sodomy, and child sexual abuse. In addition, there was another credible complaint recently filed in Korea claims that OnlyFans hosts videos of minors.

While OnlyFans has responded that they will not tolerate violations of their policies or the law, and will take action against users who fail to ensure the safety of themselves or others, MacKinnon writes that it is not enough.

“TThere’s no way of knowing if pimps and traffickers are recruiting the unwary, vulnerable, or desperate, or forcing them off-screen and confiscating or skimming the proceeds, as is typical in the sex industry, ”explains MacKinnon.

She also writes that most women enter the sex industry underage – online or in person – adding that their vulnerability is central to their marketability, as children are often portrayed as adults and adults as children.

While OnlyFans requires Creatorn to be at least 18 years old and go through an age verification process, many say it is easy to beat a minor or get an older person to sign up for a minor.

To tackle this injustice, MacKinnon advises the enforcement of an effective California law because the legislation “adapts the best features of copyright, defamation and human trafficking law to solve this problem. ”

“If it passed,” MacKinnon writes, “it would create a civil claim for victims of online sex trafficking – nude or sexual images of minors or adults being coerced or tricked, or victims of theft. Upon notification, the trafficker would have to remove the materials or pay $ 100,000 for every two hours it was accessible. “

MacKinnon concludes that anyone trafficked for sex on online platforms needs real protection to make it into our world.

In light of recent filings and claims, OnlyFans has released this statement:

OnlyFans is a social media platform for ages 18+. OnlyFans does not condone violations of our policies and we take immediate action to keep our users safe. The platform’s Trust & Safety department has grown with the business, and OnlyFans continues to deploy top-notch resources in this area. OnlyFans is home to over 1.25 million YouTubers. The website has detailed policies and procedures in place to proactively monitor any attempt to fraudulently access the platform, including underage access, and in the event of any breach of these terms, the account will be terminated immediately. OnlyFans continues to increase surveillance measures to prevent fraudulent breaches.

Catherine A. MacKinnon is a lawyer, scholar, writer, teacher and activist. She teaches law at the University of Michigan and Harvard Law School and works on behalf of sexually abused people around the world.

You full New York Times Editing can be accessed here.

Additional reading: Police Sex Workers: NYPD Vice Unit Targets Minorities, Report Says

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