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PayPal Pull Precarious PornHub Payments

PayPal has blocked transactions from adult video-site PornHub over concerns the website made certain business payments without permission, which the website claims will affect the livelihoods of over a hundred thousand adult performers.

The payment block was introduced following a review into transactions made by PornHub, which revealed several business payments made through PayPal were billed without permission.

PayPal, however, is yet to elaborate on the nature of the transactions, with PornHub crying foul over a move that does ‘nothing but harm efforts to end discrimination and stigma toward sex workers’ an issue that has been widespread for far too long.

According to PayPal’s terms of service agreements, PornHub transactions violate its ‘sexually-oriented goods’ clause, which states they do not permit transactions for ‘sexually oriented physical goods’ outside the US.

While PayPal does allow US only transactions for certain sexually oriented physical goods that are physically delivered to the customer, it does prohibit ‘all account holders from buying or selling sexually oriented digital goods… delivered through a digital medium’ – ambiguous phrasing at best.

PornHub claims the payments in question were made through its Model Program, according to a devastated Pornhub Vice President Corey Price, who said the program was launched to ’empower content creators within the adult industry’.

The platform allows adult performers to sell and share original video content and earn a large share of advertising revenue within a secure, highly visible and sex-positive space.

Price said PornHub would be adding ‘more sex-worker-friendly’ payment options, with the adult website looking to ‘explore cryptocurrency options in the near future’.

In a blog post by PornHub, the website urged models to update their payment information to reflect the PayPal transaction ban.

PornHub highlights banking discrimination as to why it uses PayPal for its model transactions as many do not have the luxury of holding a bank account due to the stigma and relevant misogyny against adult performers.

Survivors against SESTA.org has compiled a list of US platforms that discriminate against sex workers.

While many of these institutions, which include the likes of Visa, have barred sex worker transactions for many years now, it highlights the continuation of historical hostility towards sex workers and their industry.

Unfortunately, Australia is not excluded from the discrimination against sex workers, with Victorian MP David Limbrick revealing banks have cancelled the accounts of several adult performers telling them to take their business elsewhere.

Condemning the policy as corporate slut-shaming, Mr Limbrick said he would continue to publicly shame NAB, who he singled out as the ‘absolute worst hypocrites’ for refusing financial services to sex workers.

‘It is amazing to think that people in the banking industry think they have any moral high ground’.

According to the Ombudsman figures, the Australian adult industry employs roughly 25,000 people with a turnover of $2.6 billion a year.

Despite that, sex workers are continuously reporting banks for denying them service.

Furthermore, a report from the Eros Association in 2017 identified the majority of alleged discrimination against sex workers had been conducted by the big four banks, believing them to be passing moral judgment over ‘reputational risks’.

It seems as though it is much easier for financial institutions to apply a blanket policy for adult transactions rather than conducting tailored assessments of financial risk.

Although as outlined by Westpac, the scapegoat for most banks is that they only deal with ‘legally operating businesses’ claiming the possibility of illegal activities being conducted by adult-oriented businesses as too risky to provide banking services.

However, Rachel Payne of the Eros Association counters this saying that sex workers are legal tax-paying businesses.

‘Without proper access to banking services, it is almost impossible to operate’ legally.

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