It started innocently enough, a teenage boy looking for cool t-shirts online. But what he saw was more than what he ever expected. Instantly, suggestions of apparel began bombarding him. They featured images of full frontal nudity and depictions of sex acts.
But this teen wasn’t searching a traditional adult website. It’s a place you’ve probably been to today—amazon.com.
This true story began Amazon’s journey onto The Dirty Dozen List. It’s an infamous index of organizations that contribute to the normalizing of sexual exploitation.
The teen told his mother of the incident who then contacted the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, the producer of “The Dirty Dozen List” for the last four years.
“It’s really become the the world’s leading porn shop,” says Dawn Hawkins, executive director of NCOSE, speaking about amazon.com. “They distribute pornography and sadomasochistic paraphernalia. They’re Kindle e-reader exposes children to sexually explicit images and content with incest, rape, child exploitation themes and the Amazon web services is used to host pornography and prostitution websites.”
The teenage boy’s story is not an isolated incident. A recent story of a 12-year-old girl looking for free teenage books on Amazon resulted in her finding the book “Being Bad (Cheating with the Babysitter Fantasy).” It was listed next to “Manners Time,” a toddler book about learning good behavior.
NCOSE hopes that putting amazon.com on the list will change the way they do business.
So far, companies like Google Play, Hilton Hotels Worldwide, and the Department of Defense have taken steps to reduce or eliminate the sale of sexual material. Hilton said that after it was placed on the 2015 edition of “The Dirty Dozen List” it received up to 1,000 emails a day from the public asking it to end the sale of pornography in its hotel rooms.
“We call on amazon to change their policies, to better enforce them, and to make sure they stay away from the business of sexual exploitation,” said Hawkins.
I totally agree with this. I’ve had several issues with Amazon this year. I contacted them and they seemed understanding but so far nothing has changed. What would you recommend as other steps that could be taken to help encourage them to make changes?
I also contacted amazon today after reading this- they sounded helpful but I suspect it is feigned concern. Then I went looking for a “mousepad artist” for my father-in-law..and artist – and it was dozens of DISGUSTING anime porn mousepads …They are still burning my eyes. I am ready to take on amazon – WOuld having covenant eyes on my computer prevent this?
Yes, I have seen pornography for sale on Amazon. I was really amazed, because I don’t recall having to say I was even an adult. This was years ago, but this website is now one of my “blocked” sites on Covenant Eyes because of this. I guess as long as this smut brings a profit or have a demand it will be made available.
Keep up the great work CE!!
I’ve never had this problem with Amazon. If you blatantly search for sexually explicit stuff, you actually won’t really find anything. You have to search in ‘health and lifestyle’ departments. It’s hidden. The only time I get ‘naughty’ suggestions are after I’ve already searched for ‘naughty’ stuff for my wife, lol.. buy I’ve NEVER had sexually explicit anything just pop up. I actually just tried the searches mentioned in the article and I didn’t see anything inappropriate.
Before beginning I completely agree that any institution that is purposefully distributing pornographic material is in the wrong, and that if an institution has the capability to remove content that if possible items flagged as inappropriate by users should be removed swiftly. However in the case of Amazon while is is certainly unfortunate that explicit search results are possible it is important to remember the technical burden put on the people who run websites like Amazon to implement means by which explicit results can be filtered without consuming incredible amounts of manpower that defeats the pain of hiding pornography anyway (if people have to be paid to view and remove it.) In the case of Amazon then, what the author casts as a problem with “the way thy do business” is really an unfair criticism. Amazon is not the company responsible for explicit content, but their party sellers whose listings are very difficult to monitor with computer systems.
Having spoken to the mother of a young man who was employed by Amazon as a summer job fulfilling orders, I learned that it is not just “third party sellers,” who sell the pornography on their website. Amazon sells and fulfills orders every day for pornography.
Two years ago I shopped extensively with Amazon. After learning of their practices (and the political issues their owner chooses to lobby for), I no longer do this.