Payment Processors & Discrimination Against Sex Workers

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Hello friends, lovers, and chosen family,

Ah, these past few weeks have been a whirlwind. I’ve been in Québec City spending time with family and it’s been lovely. We are laughing – and crying – and snuggling. My mother and step-father are completely and utterly in love with my daughter. It’s a beautiful relationship to see flourish. These moments are so precious.

I’ll be back in Ottawa in mid-August and I’m looking forward to sleeping in my own bed again (don’t get me wrong, the trailer I’m in is AWESOME, but you know.)

I want to talk about something that’s been bothering me. I want to start by making a bold statement: when credit card companies and payment processors, such as PayPal, Shopify, Stripe, and PSiGate, attempt to fight ‘human trafficking’ and ‘money laundering’ by not allowing their services to be used for online sex work, they actually force sex workers to work for and sell their content on third party websites. This discrimination against sex workers increases sex workers’ vulnerability to exploitation by third parties. It is very hard to work independently as an online-only sex worker. I’m learning this the hard way.

For the past three weeks, I have been trying to find a payment processor that would allow me to sell subscriptions to VIP members on my website. These VIP members would access exclusive content including porn, erotic photos, and video blogs. I was very upfront with payment processors and banking institutions about my business model and how I’m adapting my business due to COVID-19. Every door I knocked on was firmly closed in my face. Authorize.net, PSiGate, PayPal, SquareUp, Shopify…none of them will approve my application to use their platform as a payment processor for my website. Many of them specifically stated that they do not allow pornography to be sold, and were staunchly against any type of live performance, such as cam work.

One payment processing agent stated that if I set up a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in the United States, and worked with an American bank, I would likely be approved. However, given the political climate in the United States, I want nothing to do with that country. Adult entertainment is considered “high risk.”

This blatant discrimination means I have three options: 1) I can use a third party platform such as OnlyFans, ManyVids, etc. 2) use Crypotcurrency and/or 3) Interac e-Transfers. Even Interac e-Transfer discriminates against sex workers, so I need to be careful if I use them to accept payments for services on my website. Many sex workers have been banned from using e-Transfer, the reasons are unknown but many suspect it’s because a client complained to the bank. We also believe if sex workers receive too many e-transfers, it triggers something in the Interac e-Transfer algorithms to detect fraudulent activity…(but honestly, who knows? I’ve called multi banks and Interac to get an answer about this for Ottawa Independent Companions members, and I’ve never received a clear answer about why this happens. No one seems to know why, which is fishy.)

This is really frustrating for someone like me. I do not want to use a third party, so I am exploring Cryptocurrency…

I wonder how other sex workers have gotten around this? If there’s an alternative to Cryptocurrency I’ll use it but…

In frustration…

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