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Want a Microloan? This Chinese Lender Requires Nude Selfies as Collateral

Here's the catch: there are repercussions for late or missed payments like the public release of the nude photos or videos, and having to provide sexual services, AKA a “flesh payback.”

By January 24, 2019No Comments
Image via YouTube/TomoNews US.

Have you ever seen a product you desperately wanted but couldn’t afford to pay for up front? Chances are, you have. And chances are, you’ve used credit cards or loans to pay when you didn’t have the money right away.

Technology is advancing us to an age where people can have pretty much anything they want, when they want it. In China, credit has undergone somewhat of a transformation in the form of microloans. Due to the growing popularity of microloans, people can purchase items and pay them off in monthly installments.

Though this idea of credit isn’t new, the idea of using a loan to buy not only something larger—such as a new phone—but also something very small—such as a burger or box of cereal—is a very new concept.

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Ant Check Later is a leader in this form of the credit industry, and nearly half of people born after 1990 in China use the credit service. In China, where the cost of living is high and credit cards are hard to attain, these services are one way Chinese citizens can take advantage of the use of credit. But credit, though useful and often necessary, also has some risky aspects.

Despite the obvious tragedy that might happen from people taking out loans to pay for basic, everyday items, another tragedy has arisen in this new industry: lenders exploiting their borrowers by asking them to provide nude pictures as collateral if they make a late payment or miss a payment.

We can’t make this up.

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“Pay back your loan or be sexually blackmailed”

Some lenders have taken advantage of a vulnerable age group and are using naked pictures of the borrowers as potential collateral. These loans are bluntly coined “naked loan services.” “Naked” refers to not only the pictures, but also the fact that these loans require no assets or proof of income or wealth—they simply require the explicit pictures and/or a video.

Here’s how it works: the borrower takes two pictures, one showing the front of their identification card, the other showing the back of their identification card. In many cases, they are also required to record a video—also while naked—consenting to the terms of the loan.

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These terms outline what will happen if payments are late or missed. Primarily, the photos and/or video will be released to the public or will be exposed to the borrower’s family and friends. Sometimes, there are other repercussions for late or missed payments as well, such as providing sexual services, coined a “flesh payback.”

These “naked loan services” have recently entered the public eye after 10 gigabytes of photos and videos from 161 women between the ages of 17-23 were leaked online by these microlenders in 2016. After the leak, many financial regulators claim they are cracking down on these “naked loan services,” though time will tell how effective this proves to be.

Local media reports suggest that the problem is still rife on social media.

The naked truth about nudes for microloans

Though it may seem shocking that this is happening, with the normalizing of sexploitation and the rising popularity of trends such as revenge porn, these naked loan services fit the profile of a porn-saturated world.

What’s worse, is that under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), these acts (at least in the United States) may even fit the profile of a form of sex trafficking in some instances. According to the TVPA, sex trafficking is defined as a commercial sex act induced by force, fraud, or coercion.”

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Consider that, according to the TVPA, the term “commercial sex act” means “any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person.” In this scenario, the thing of value would be the loan, whereas the sex act would be the nude photos/videos or “flesh payback.”

The coercion for force would be the inability to pay for basic necessities like food coupled with the threat of blackmail for intimate images to be leaked or exposed to your friends and family.

In other words, at best, this is exploitation, and at worst, this is a form of trafficking.

Trafficking or not, the objectification and exploitation of these young people is deeply concerning, whether or not they consented to it. The fact is, in our pornified world, women (and men) are seen as tradeable sexual objects, meaning their own bodies can be used as currency, products, or even as assets. How is this acceptable?

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