High Risk Hustling: Payment Processors Sexual Proxies and Discrimination by Design

Stardust, Zahra; Blunt, Danielle; Garcia, Gabriella; Lee, Lorelei; D'Adamo, Kate; Kuo, Rachel
CUNY Law Review

In this article, we examine the policies of banks and payment providers who refuse service to sex workers, sex industry businesses and other sexual purposes. Drawing from sex worker media from two different regulatory environments, the United States and Australia, we show how sex workers are identified via multiple means, including through algorithmic detection, malicious flagging, unique business names, service descriptions, external links, use of pseudonyms, linking of personal and professional identities, and sex work activism. We argue that the ‘sexual proxies’ that identify sex workers are founded on problematic assumptions of sex as high risk and operate to capture a wide variety of uses, including access to sex education, abortion services and mutual aid funds.