'Corporate Advocacy and the Power of Collaboration'
Collective Shout's Lyn Swanson Kennedy joined a panel of expert advocates last month to discuss how we can work together to change corporate behaviour to end sexual exploitation. The panel discussion featured at the Canadian Sexual Exploitation Summit 2023 in May.
Lyn highlighted the urgent need to hold banks and investment firms accountable for the part they play in sexual exploitation and to put pressure on them to change:
I think it's high time that the finance industry was held to proper account for the part that they play and the profits that they derive from sexual exploitation.
I see it as an untapped area for advocacy and something that I hope that we can participate in much more going forward.
A couple of years ago we saw Visa and Mastercard held to account for aiding and profiting from the sale of child exploitation material, image based abuse material, content featuring rape and human trafficking victims on Pornhub. And that was good to see.
Just this week, a judge ordered JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank to face lawsuits over their ties to Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking operation. We need to see more of this. These are huge companies with massive amounts of money and they must be held to account.
We've challenged JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank in one of our campaigns: they are both investors in global porn empire Playboy. For those who weren't aware, Playboy is a publicly listed company with companies like that underpinning and undergirding their sexual exploitation activities.
Playboy is engaged in a host of sexual exploitation activities, from exploiting China's children - using them as props for its porn branded merchandise, to exposing children to its sex shop porn themed advertisements in family friendly shopping malls.
So we see this large range of activity - corporate activity - which harms women and girls. And we see companies like JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of America - household names - undergirding these activities and profiting.
And I think it's high time that we held them to account. Just on that note, I would encourage people look into who you bank with, look into who they invest in; your retirement fund, find out what is in your investment portfolio because you quite possibly are also contributing to this activity, and we can do things to change that.
The session was hosted by Jenna Scholz, Coordinator of Government Advocacy and Survivor Support Fund for Defend Dignity (Canada) and featured Arlene Stinson - Defend Dignity's Coordinator of Corporate Advocacy and Volunteers and Lina Nealon - Vice President and Director Corporate Advocacy at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (USA).
Watch the clip below.