Sadly, we almost take for granted that some tech companies will do business with unsavory characters. But when it comes to civil discourse and the course of doing business, companies have a choice and some of them are willing to put decency over profits.

That’s why we applaud the recent news that PayPal will no longer process payments for Pornhub, one of the world’s largest porn websites. PayPal said it had discovered that the porn site had made business payments through its system without its permission. PayPal’s acceptable use policy forbids “certain sexually oriented materials or services.”

We see it as a loud message to the porn industry that its exploitative — and often illegal — business practices won’t be tolerated.

Pornhub allows performers to upload, sell and otherwise monetize videos they make themselves. The performers used PayPal as one of the ways to get paid.

To be clear, making and selling porn isn’t illegal in this country. But Pornhub and other sites like it have repeatedly come under fire for profiting from nonconsensual videos, including secret filming; drugging and coercing victims; real rape videos; and stolen videos. What’s more, authorities say sex trafficking and child sexual abuse videos have been found on the sites.

It drives home the point that this isn’t some victimless business. Experts say there are strong ties between the porn industry and the despicable epidemic that is human sex trafficking in our communities. One multibillion dollar sex industry fuels the other.

Need more reason to care? Consider a horrific case in South Florida that came to light last month.

A girl missing for almost a year was discovered to have appeared in 58 porn videos posted to Pornhub and other sites. Police arrested one of the men who appeared in a video after he was spotted with the girl at a 7-Eleven.

We’ve pointed out several times that these crimes are occurring in all kinds of neighborhoods — urban and suburban — across the country. About 300,000 children are at risk each year.

These criminals prey on vulnerable people and the lives of these victims, mostly women and girls, are damaged for years.

We know that when there’s this much demand, bad actors will find illicit ways to take advantage of it and customers will find a way to pay. Pornhub is among a seemingly endless pit of porn sites.

But we’re encouraged that PayPal has cut ties. It joins financial institutions such as Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Venmo, which have declined to process transactions related to sex work in recent years.

Businesses have a choice in being good citizens and can — and should — play a role in civil discourse on social issues that matter.

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The Dallas Morning News

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