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Three Ways Innocent People Are Being Exploited on Pornhub


In 1986, the U.S. surgeon general concluded that secondhand smoke was a major health risk to nonsmokers. It’s been estimated that secondhand smoke causes the premature death of 41,000 adults and more than 400 infants each year. Tragic.

The real tragedy of secondhand smoke is that it’s extremely damaging those who choose NOT to smoke. You could say that it threatens and violates the innocent.

When its danger was fully realized, thousands of businesses, restaurants, and establishments prohibited smoking on their premises and extreme efforts were taken by the government to warn and protect the general public of its harmful effects. The message was clear; “if you’re gonna smoke, you’re not going to hurt anyone else.”

Big Porn has been called “a victimless crime.” Yet, evidence is revealing Pornhub, the literal “hub” of online porn, as a hotspot for sexual exploitation. The company continues to perpetrate systemic abuse as a means of profit and it seems to have no regard as to who gets hurt in the process.

Similar to secondhand smoke and corporate pollution, Pornhub’s harmful vapors are spilling over beyond the willful viewer into the general public. And the casualties are piling up.

“It’s just porn,” some say. Or, “It’s harmless, who are they hurting?” Many people actually, and they need to be held accountable. Here are three examples of how Pornhub is damaging innocent lives.

1. Proven sex crimes end up on Pornhub.

In 2012, Taiwanese socialite Justin Lee was arrested after a 23-day manhunt, for assaulting 20 different women. Lee brought home 14 women, either drunk or unconscious, from nightclubs and other places. Then he sexually assaulted them, taping the acts without their consent. He also took home another six women and secretly filmed them having sex with him. 1

The videos, of course, were found all over Pornhub2. First imagine the trauma of enduring a sexual assault, then having that assault broadcast all over the internet. Lee’s case is yet another example of Pornhub becoming an outlet for predators to profit from sexual deviancy.

RELATED: He Raped 20 Women and the Videos Were Posted to Pornhub

In another instance, human rights violations went viral on Pornhub. Recently, GirlsDoPorn founder Michael Pratt was issued a federal indictment for coercing and deceiving 22 women into sex acts on film, which were subsequently uploaded to Pornhub.

Michael is now a fugitive, charged with federal sex trafficking crimes and his site has been taken down. However as recently as February of this year, there have been reports of GirlsDoPorn videos found “easily” on Pornhub.3

I have contemplated suicide. I have cut myself. I became depressed, could not leave the house, and considered dropping out of school… I live in fear every single day.

How damaging is this? Well, in the words of one of Pratt’s victims

“I have contemplated suicide. I have cut myself. I became depressed, could not leave the house, and considered dropping out of school. People started to message me with video screenshots or they would send screenshots to my friends making fun of me. My mom knows of the video, which shames and humiliates me. I had to drop out of college to avoid ongoing harassment from classmates. I have been harassed at work about the video to the point that I had to quit. I am now scared to apply for new jobs. I get random requests on social media from strangers asking me to have sex with them. I live in fear every single day that I will run across someone that knows about the video. I am trying to move to another state soon.” 4

Now I highly discouraged it, but a stroll through their site will reveal videos featuring non-consensual sex. Let’s be clear, non-consensual sex is a misnomer, it is actually rape! It’s an actual crime, yet Pornhub hosts and profits from it.

2. Children are in their crosshairs.

There is child sex abuse material all over Pornhub and they know it.

In addition to the Baby Yoda meme they recently used as a promotional tool, it’s been reported that Pornhub has promoted pornographic videos and popup ads featuring popular kids cartoon characters, like Dora the Explorer, Paw Patrol, and even some Disney princesses.

Who are they trying to attract? The severe impacts viewing porn can have on children have been well documented,5 so why is Pornhub trying to appeal to them? What is it about children that interests Pornhub? Many porn sites at least have a click-thru warning button prompting visitors to verify their age, but not Pornhub**6. Their greedy doors are wide open to all ages.

Laila Mickelwait recently tweeted a picture of Pornhub’s Sr. Community Manager on Reddit, instructing a concerned viewer NOT to report child sex abuse on their site to authorities.

Then there’s the actual sexual abuse. According to The Internet Watch Foundation there were 118 instances of children being sexually abused on Pornhub that they confirmed in only two years. With close to 7 million videos uploaded each year (a fact Pornhub boasts about) you can bet there’s a lot more. Why? Because Pornhub doesn’t verify age.

Laila Mickelwait recently tweeted a picture of Pornhub’s Sr. Community Manager on Reddit, instructing a concerned viewer NOT to report child sex abuse on their site to authorities. Did you get that? Don’t report a gross crime against a child? Nearly every state and US territory mandates reporting of sex crimes, especially against children. Failure to do so could result in heavy fines, imprisonment or both.7

Sadly, the above is just scratching the surface. Pornhub has established a system that prioritizes profit over people, and to them our kids are opportunities.

3. Revenge porn is littered throughout the site.

I’ve been asked “Isn’t porn performed by paid actors in a controlled setting?” No. Today’s porn is riddled with amateur, homemade videos that tube sites like Pornhub make extremely easy to be uploaded.

What we see hosted now is a collection of hidden camera shots, amateur video, and exploitative content uploaded by poorly verified sources. Titles like “drunk teen abused” make it pretty obvious what the video is about, yet the content is allowed to be uploaded and monetized.

Many of these videos fall into the category of “revenge porn.” That is, content involving spy cams or sex tapes uploaded without someones consent in an act of “revenge” or as a prank.

Kate Isaacs, founded the #notyourporn campaign when a personal friend of hers found her stolen personal content on Pornhub. She now claims to be working with 50 women who were “turned into porn stars without their permission” when private content was stolen or filmed without consent. Some of the women were under the age of 18 at the time.8

These cases are becoming very common, as unsuspecting women are subjected to the shame and embarrassment of having their intimate moments broadcast for anyone to watch. Pornhub has helped make non-consensual porn a genre of sorts, making light of and money off of the illicit and harmful content. The terms “revenge” and “hidden cam” are popular search terms on the site.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., recently said in a statement “Pornhub’s failure to remove nonconsensual pornography from its website is destroying lives.” She added “I’ve spoken with many survivors who have been driven from careers, fields of study, and lost family and loved ones due to this insidious practice. In the worst cases, people have been driven to suicide.”9

Countries take drastic steps towards protecting their citizens from mega corporations polluting in public water sources, and dangerous substances like secondhand smoke. It’s time for them to step up against Pornhub.

Their executives are profiting off of human rights violations, and the casualties are piling up. It’s time they stop getting a pass. We are raising our collective voices and over 1 million agree. We are doing our part, it’s time for our leaders to do theirs.

Sign the petition or donate to help fuel our collective fight against Pornhub and keep this movement marching forward.

Fuel the Fight

For $10/month the Pornhub Premium membership enables its users to watch real sexual abuse ad-free. For the same monthly amount, you can join the dedicated Traffickinghub Premium Partner community and help hold Pornhub accountable. We’ll send you a Traffickinghub t-shirt to help you raise awareness.

Help us meet our $200k goal!

Footnotes

  • 1. https://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1584449/taiwanese-playboy-justin-lee-appeal-80-year-sentence-multiple-rapes
  • 2. https://fightthenewdrug.org/pornhub-reportedly-profits-from-nonconsensual-videos/
  • 3. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/9393zp/how-pornhub-moderation-works-girls-do-porn
  • 4. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/mb8zjn/pornhub-doxing-and-harassment-girls-do-porn-lawsuit
  • 5. https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_interest/child_law/resources/child_law_practiceonline/child_law_practice/vol-33/may-2014/how-pornography-harms-children–the-advocate-s-role/
  • 6. ** Except for in Utah where very recently legislation required it.
  • 7. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/report.pdf
  • 8. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/mar/09/pornhub-needs-to-change-or-shut-down
  • 9. https://www.foxnews.com/media/pornhub-doj-investigation-bipartisan-scrutiny
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