The American Civil Liberties Union brought a complaint to the FTC against MasterCard. They’re calling to investigate MC’s policy to determine if it discriminates against online sex workers. 
 Discrimination runs rampant in the sex worker community. It’s not often that we get good news like this, so I’m celebrating it. 

Note to the Reader: I am not an official news outlet. This is a blog where I share my personal opinions and experiences. I fact-check everything that I say, but some things may slip through the cracks. Don’t use this as a news source. Check my sources in the links.

Tweet by the ACLU: BREAKING: We just filed a Federal Trade Commission complaint, calling for an investigation into Mastercard’s policies discriminating against online sex workers.
ACLU’s Tweet announcing FTC complaint against MasterCard
This is not the first time MasterCard and the Federal Trade Commission have gone head to head. In May 2023, the FTC approved an order requiring the credit card company to cease blocking their competition. 
Will the ACLU’s complaint be taken seriously? I’m not an expert, but it does make me think the FTC isn’t in MasterCard’s back pocket. Maybe we can look forward to a fair and well-researched investigation. 
I’m just giving the sex worker’s perspective, and so far, I’m feeling optimistic. It feels like somebody is on our side for the first time in a long time.

Comments on the ACLU’s FTC Complaint

The complaint specifically targets Mastercard’s policy implemented in 2021. It states their current business practices treat sex workers unfairly, which causes active harm to our community. 
MC is also capable of logging in to adult sites under “God mode” to monitor our content themselves. That is a huge privacy concern. It can lead to data leaks, content leaks, and the random deletion (deplatforming) of creators. 
Also, adult content sites are burdened with monthly reports to identify flagged and removed content. Think of the manpower it takes to document and comply. It’s noteworthy because MC’s policy isn’t even specific with their list of banned content. Sites have to guess what does and does not constitute a violation. 
With that being said, here’s the possibility for sites to “over comply” with tight restrictions to otherwise legal content. That’s why sites with adult content seem to be so trigger-happy with content removal and bans. Even they don’t know what will put the site in violation of the vague policy.
The ACLU also emphasizes adult content sites are already restricted at the federal and state level. Therefore, adding additional restrictions to otherwise legal content is unnecessary. 
Those were the points that stood out to me, but there’s more. The ACLU’s FTC complaint is a long read, and I can’t cover it all in one blog.  
You can read the official complaint here. 

Why Does Discriminates Against Sex Workers Matter?

MasterCard is a giant in the payment processing world. For the majority of vendors, what they say goes. So, if they tell a merchant that they’re not allowed to sell a certain product, they have to listen or lose their ability to process payments.

As a Customer, Have You Ever Been Blocked by Your Card or Bank?

This blog is mostly targeted towards my clients. I want your perspective on the issue. Have you ever tried to buy services from a model, pornstar, content creator, or a camgirl and been blocked by your card? Guess what, you’re a victim of this discrimination too. 
You work hard for your money, and you should be able to spend it on a legal service. If we keep letting these big companies get away with discrimination, it will only get worse. 
Discrimination starts with something inflammatory and controversial like sex work, but what if they keep going? What if Discover entered a deal with Wal-Mart and stopped you from shopping at Target? What if your bank decided not to work with you because of your race? What if you bought services from a sex worker one time and were no longer eligible for a loan?
Note: These are all hypotheticals. They are simply made to make you think.

How Does Discriminatory Payment Processing Affect Sex Workers?

Now, put that in the context of sex work.
A few conservative minds at the head of MasterCard is all it takes. Especially recently, sex workers have been bombarded with new rules, and sites have to crack down or risk losing their payment provider. 
However, the people in charge of porn sites are not the only ones suffering. It also affects tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people who are independent contractors on the sites. Once the tower loses its foundation, a countless number of tax-paying, hard-working sex workers lose the ability to pay their bills. 
I will say, MC’s policy and site restrictions cause me a lot of anxiety. I’ve built multiple businesses for as long as I’ve been legally able to work. I was a writer, blogger, entrepreneur, social media manager, and sex worker. Sex work is the most anxiety-inducing because I feel like I’ll wake up one day, and all of my hard work will be erased.

It’s Not Just the Sites at Risk. Individual Workers Get the Worst of It.

Look at PornHub for example. While their site was heavily mismanaged in the past (and questionable in the present), they got the worst of the banhammer. Visa and MasterCard pulled their payment processing and left them dead in the water. But once again, it wasn’t only PornHub feeling the effects on their wallet. The people who made a living on their site had to find another way to get paid before the rent was due. 
This is my blog, not an official news site; so I’ll give you my opinion. That shit blows. I want you to imagine what it’s like to wake up one morning, and the paycheck that you put 40, 60, or 80 hours a week into disappears. And no, you do not eventually get your money. It’s gone. 


Hopefully, something comes from this. At the very least, maybe it might make payment processors and credit card companies think twice. Every decision they make ripples millions of peoples’ lives, and they need to answer for it. Go, ACLU, and thank you for being on our side.