The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) lauded Google Play’s announcement that it will no longer carry sugar dating apps (or apps that promote compensated sexual acts) starting on September 1, 2021.
NCOSE had been advocating for Google to make changes to its Google Play store policies by removing exploitative sugar dating apps like SeekingArrangement, which is on NCOSE’s 2021 Dirty Dozen List.
“Sugar dating is a form of prostitution – and a growing number of businesses are capitalizing on the demand from rich, established men (“daddies”) for younger, financially insecure women (“babies”) to use for their satisfaction and pleasure. Google Play has rightfully recognized the bitter truth about sugar dating. We are grateful to Google for hearing our concerns and commend them for making a principled move to no longer enable this form of exploitation,”said Lina Nealon, director of corporate and strategic initiatives for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.
The largest hub of sugar dating is SeekingArrangement, which survivors of prostitution make clear is part of the commercial sex industry, as sexual favors are expected in return for money, gifts, travel, and other items or valuable benefits. SeekingArrangemnt markets the “babies” as “college students, aspiring actors or actresses, single parents, or someone just starting out.” SeekingArrangement most aggressively targets college students who are struggling with student debt with advertisements and free premium accounts.
This Google Play store change is consistent with a policy Google Ads instituted in February, banning advertisements for “compensated dating or sexual arrangements,” including sugar dating.
“By no longer providing sugar dating sites a distribution channel or advertising platform, Google is curbing the harmful effects of sugaring directly, while also sending a strong message to counter the cultural normalization of these exploitative practices,” Nealon said.