In the recent past, Google has been accused of profiting off of serving illegal ads related to online pharmacies, illegal Olympic ticket sales, and recently lost a case in an Australian court related to being “engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct.” Now, the National Association of Human Trafficking Victim Advocates (NAHTVA) along with 37 other prominent anti-trafficking organizations is accusing Google of profiting off of the trafficking of women and demanding an investigation.
In an open bi-partisan letter to Google CEO Larry Page, Republican Marsha Blackburn and Democrat Carolyn Maloney said the following:
“Whatever Google is doing or is not doing to prevent these sorts of advertisement from appearing on their properties, Google has not satisfied a significant number of human rights organizations who have a specialized understanding of how these ads contribute to the trafficking of women and girls.”
The letter, which was primarily sent to request information regarding how Google intends to stop exploitative marketing, urged the technology giant to consider proactively addressing the concerns of NAHTVA. In addition, the letter also stated that members of U.S. Congress were upset to learn that Google was profiting from “illicit activities” and mentioned the $500,000,000 that Google recently forfeited due to illegally displaying ads for controlled substances.
In response, Google released a statement indicating that they are working to prevent human trafficking ads from appearing on their web properties:
“We work closely with law enforcement and other government authorities. But it’s a constant battle against these bad actors so we are always looking at ways to improve our systems and practices — including by working with leading anti-trafficking organizations.”
However, Philip J. Cenedella the Executive Director of NAHTVA is not satisfied with Google’s current efforts and recently sent a letter to the National Association of Attorney Generals requesting they investigate Google for profiting off ads that are contributing to the trafficking of women:
“As the world’s largest supplier of online advertising, Google is in a unique position to choke the supply chain that delivers women for sale through online sex trafficking. Join us in conveying our mutual concern over these ads by forcing Google to take the high road and ban these ads.”
Although Google has indicated that they are spending “millions of dollars” of approximately $10 billion annual net revenue to prevent the human trafficking advertisements, the coalition of anti-trafficking organizations feels that Google’s financial interests may cause them to ignore their own corporate motto: Do No Evil
In your opinion, what responsibility does Google have to prevent these ads and what is the solution?