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How Pornhub Makes Trafficking Easy


It’s estimated that human trafficking earns roughly $150 Billion a year for traffickers, of which about $100 billion comes from commercial sexual exploitation. It’s a massive criminal industry that enslaves somewhere between 20-40 million people worldwide.

Trafficking has a wide range of forms, and many shades. It usually involves some level of coercion and abuse of vulnerability in order to exploit someone for sex. Many times victims don’t even realize they’ve been trafficked, until it’s too late. Victims of sex trafficking can be forced to have sex as often as 20-50 times a day, while they earn money for their traffickers. It’s a brutal life, which often leads to drug addiction, health issues, and death.

One of the challenges to stopping trafficking is a culture of corruption among law enforcement and people in authority. Where money is to be made, a system often emerges that protects predators and silences victims. Combine that with the emergence of new outlets for traffickers to earn their returns, and the task gets even more difficult.

Enter Pornhub. Recent evidence has revealed that Pornhub is willing to host and profit from videos depicting just about anything. Rape, human trafficking, child sexual abuse material, non-consenual “revenge” porn, and other forms of image-based abuse have all found a home on Pornhub.

Now, there are boatloads of pornography being produced every day, and Pornhub sees the lionshare of it—so why would the largest online porn company bother dabbling in such illicit and criminal content? In a word: MONEY.

In each of the crimes above, Pornhub has capitalized on views to earn money by advertising. With every video upload, Pornhub retains the right to monetize that video with advertisements. The more traffic the video gets, the more opportunities Pornhub has to earn from ads placed in and around the videos. They are literally profiting off both criminal behavior and people’s pain.

Pornhub boasts about their traffic and bandwidth consumed. Their “free premium” publicity stunt during COVID quarantines was really just a way to capitalize on the opportunity, and seize more traffic. Offering free premium meant new users and new user data that could be collected, monetized, and used for advertising purposes. The simple math is, more traffic = more views = more money for Pornhub.

Through their monetization programs and unwillingness to properly moderate, Pornhub has paved golden roads for traffickers to continue to earn off their victims.

But Pornhub also allows users to share in the ad revenue generated by the videos they upload. As a tube site, users can upload their own content to get views and ratings. The higher the views and ratings of that video, the more advertising revenue that video will likely generate. Just one video can earn hundreds of dollars per day.

Again, this isn’t a generous gesture by Pornhub. By giving every person with access to a computer the chance to produce and upload porn, they have multiplied their opportunities to make money exponentially. They have also empowered rapists and traffickers. Through their monetization programs and unwillingness to properly moderate, Pornhub has paved golden roads for traffickers to continue to earn off their victims.

Now, in order to monetize your videos on Pornhub, you must sign up for their Amateur Program and become “verified,” which is free, however it does require two forms of identification in order to earn. But this isn’t hard for traffickers to circumvent. This was clearly evident when Pornhub, of their own admission, “verified” a missing 15-year-old girl and allowed 58 videos of her rape and abuse to be streamed and profited from.1

Becoming “verified” on Pornhub is one of the biggest jokes going… No ID or consent is required.

This is just one instance of Pornhub enabling human trafficking. And because it seems Pornhub will only consider removing videos when they are flagged, there are most likely traffickers earning money right now on the site.

Becoming “verified” on Pornhub is one of the biggest jokes going. All you need is a real picture (not digitized or avatar) of a person holding a piece of paper or board with the corresponding Pornhub username on it. No ID or consent is required. There also appears to be a secondary market for verified accounts, where you can simply buy a pre-existing blue check account and begin to upload whatever you want.2

In terms of making money, the “free to view” videos are just the beginning. There are “opportunities” to make money on the site as Content Partners which include a video sales share with Pornhub, and a revenue share.

So the Content Partners must be legitimate producers, right? Nope. And in many cases they are given more leniency. This was obvious in the Girls Do Porn case, where 22 girls were coerced into having sex by now fugitive founder Michael Pratt, in which the videos were uploaded to Pornhub without their consent.

Among the host of charges filed against the owner was “sex trafficking of a minor.”3 MindGeek (Pornhub’s parent-company) executives Feras Antoon and David Marmorstein Tassillo were named as persons of interest in the case.4 Girls Do Porn was a popular Content Partner and channel on Pornhub until they were finally taken down, well after Pornhub was aware their partner was engaged in exploitation.

Just a few weeks ago, members of the Czech Casting channel were arrested and charged with, you guessed it, human trafficking, sexual coercion, and rape. “Czech Casting” is owned and operated by the largest online pornography network in the Czech Republic.5 As content members of Pornhub, both the channel and Pornhub were raking in profits off of sex crimes.

RELATED: Young Women Trafficked onto Pornhub Via Fake Modeling Ads

Keep in mind that these arrests were not the result of Pornhub policing themselves, but by what’s often the case: a third party calling legal attention to the criminal behavior.

My question is, how much of this is happening on the site that we don’t know about? As these cases prove, human trafficking isn’t a small, isolated, fringe issue in the vast online porn industry, as some might think. But a mainstream, rampant industry problem that often finds a home on Pornhub. A fact that even famous porn stars like Jenna Jameson have attested to.

If popular premium Content Partners are being charged with human trafficking, what about the others? Pornhub’s parent company, MindGeek, also owns other prominent content members/production companies like BRAZZERS, MOFO’s, Digital Playground and many others. How convenient. If Pornhub wasn’t responding to the obvious warning signs of coercion on Girls Do Porn and Czech Casting, how can we be assured the companies they have clear financial interest in also aren’t violating laws in producing their content?

MindGeek has created systems that allow traffickers to thrive and profit—you could say that they have forged an online trafficking culture. Let’s look at the facts. They have dominated the online porn space, and own a myriad of some of the biggest sites in the industry. They have a disturbingly consistent pattern of hosting and profiting from illegal content. They have been unacceptably slow to respond to requests for illegal content removal, even when flagged and contacted.6

And it seems all they care about is site visits and video streams. Why else would they create a dark web mirror site that provides a private VPN to its users to hide their locations?7

And while Pornhub and traffickers share the revenue they earn, victims suffer as their trauma and degradation is viewed thousands, if not millions, of times.

To make matters worse, Pornhub takes NO responsibility. Their defense is a well-rehearsed regurgitation of verification guidelines, “dedicated” human moderators, and software to pinpoint underage and illegal activity.

But that software must be broken or turned off, and the moderators too busy, because it seems every week new videos emerge featuring child sexual abuse, rape, non-consensual porn, or human trafficking.

It is abundantly clear that Pornhub is unwilling to control what they have built, and their negligence and irresponsibility as a company is reckless, criminal, and unacceptable. I am hard pressed to find another company associated with such a consistent stream of illegal activity, that wasn’t the subject of criminal investigation.

They have forfeited any right they might have had to exist as a legitimate business, and should close immediately or be shut down. If our governmental leaders are truly committed to eradicating human trafficking, Pornhub must be swiftly dealt with for both enabling and profiting from sex trafficking. No more evidence is needed, it is time for action.

With your help we can shut down Pornhub. Click below to sign the petition or give to the fight.

 

Join the Traffickinghub Movement

We’re building a dedicated community of Traffickinghub Premium Partners who are giving $10/month to sustain this long fight till Pornhub is brought to justice. Will you join us? Start here.

Footnotes

  • 1. https://www.foxnews.com/media/pornhub-doj-investigation-bipartisan-scrutiny
  • 2. https://www.blackhatworld.com/seo/verified-accounts-verified-pornhub-redtube-accounts-for-sale-verified-profiles.1198160/
  • 3. https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/owner-of-san-diego-porn-website-face-child-pornography-charges/2091502/
  • 4. https://www.cryptopolitan.com/pornhub-pratt-sex-trafficking-close-site/amp/
  • 5. https://www.praguemorning.cz/czech-casting-women-lured-by-modeling-gigs-manipulated-into-porn/
  • 6. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/mar/09/pornhub-needs-to-change-or-shut-down
  • 7. https://www.pcmag.com/news/pornhub-is-now-available-as-a-tor-site-to-protect-users-privacy
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