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Anti PornHub Petition Nears 600,000 Sigs Following Rape/Assault Scandal

PornHub, one of the most visited pornographic websites in the world, has come under fire for video content involving sexual abuse. The outrage follows a recent surge in films depicting trafficking, rape, and under-age sex. 

A petition demanding the removal of such content now has over 550,000 signatures, and accuses PornHub of both encouraging and monetizing abusive behavior.

According to anti-trafficking activist Laila Mickelwait, “teen” is one of the most search categories on PornHub’s site, calling into question the legality of the site’s films.

In an opinion piece for the Washington Examiner, Mickelwait writes: “…a quick search for the word “teen” turns up titles such as “Young Girl Tricked,” “Innocent Brace Faced Tiny Teen F—ed,” “Tiny Petite Thai Teen,” “Teen Little Girl First Time,” on and on ad infinitum.”

Late last year, a mother was reunited with her missing 15-year-old daughter after discovering explicit photos of her online. Detectives discovered the girl had appeared in 58 rape and abuse videos, all featured on PornHub.

Similarly, a group of women recently won a 12.7 million dollar lawsuit against “GirlsDoPorn” – a company owned by a man named Micheal Pratt.

Pratt reportedly coerced the 22 women to perform sex acts on film, then uploaded the footage to PornHub. Pratt and his colleagues allegedly filmed child rape and sexual abuse, and trafficked a minor.

In a statement, PornHub’s parent company, Mindgeek, said, “Pornhub has a steadfast commitment to eradicating and fighting non-consensual content and under-age material. Any suggestion otherwise is categorically and factually inaccurate.”

The site itself generates revenue via advertisements associated with its videos.

Posting around six million videos per year – some showing “extremely hardcore and violent pornography” – PornHub’s site is free to access and has no enforced age restrictions. 

In an interview, Mickelwait told Fox News PornHub is “set up for exploitation,” and communicated her plans to notify the Trump administration of the petition.

In a shared effort, Senator Bill Sasse (R-NE) called on Attorney General William Barr to probe PornHub in a letter to the Department of Justice.

Sasse wrote, “Pornhub’s incredible reach has a much darker side than the image of harmless fun that it tries to project.

In several notable incidents over the past year, Pornhub made content available worldwide showing women and girls that were victims of trafficking being raped and exploited.”

Sasse also pointed out that PayPal, an online money transfer service, now prohibits PornHub from using its sources to facilitate payments due to the recent controversy. The Department of Justice declined to comment on the letter.

According to State Department reports, the United States ranks among the worst countries in the world for human trafficking, joining Mexico and the Philipines in the “top three nations of origin for victims of human trafficking.”

Despite backlash and public outrage, PornHub executives instead announced an extension of free premium site access to countries impacted by the novel coronavirus – namely, France, Italy and Spain.

With increasing numbers forced to stay inside and quarantine, PornHub sees another exploitation opportunity.

When asked whether the offer would extend to the United States, a spokesman for PornHub said, “We are assessing the COVID-19 pandemic daily to determine how else we can support our vast global community, including expanding free access to Pornhub Premium.”

Kingsley Cortes

Kingsley Cortes is a 2020 Writing Fellow for the National Pulse