PETITTION ACCUSING PORNHUB OF PROFITING FROM RAPE AND ABUSE VIDEOS REACHES 380,000 SIGNATURES. The adult entertainment platform has faced accusations that abusive videos are widely uploaded

March 9, 2020
Ellie Fry

An online petition accusing Pornhub of profiting from videos of rape and abuse has reached over over 388,000 signatures.

The petition, founded by US anti-trafficking organisation Exodus Cry, accuses the porn site of facilitating human trafficking through insufficient safeguarding checks on videos, many of which are uploaded by users.

It reads: “Pornhub is generating millions in advertising and membership revenue with 42 billion visits and 6 million videos uploaded per year.

“Yet it has no system in place to verify reliably the age or consent of those featured in the pornographic content it hosts and profits from.”

The petition cites examples of poor practice including a case of a 15-year-old girl who went missing in Florida last year. She was found by authorities after videos that appeared to show her being raped were uploaded to websites including Pornhub.

It also highlights instances of Pornhub's slow response to abusive content on its site. After US independent film label called Girls Do Porn was charged with federal sex trafficking in October last year, Pornhub took three days to remove the company’s official page from its website, while videos by the film label still exist on Pornhub via unofficial uploaders.

Laila Mickelwait, the founder of the petition, told The Independent: "As a practice Pornhub does not verify the age or the consent of millions of people uploading hardcore porn to their website – no ID verification or consent verification is required. Their policies enable porn uploads by anonymous rapists and traffickers."

This is not the first time Mindgeek, the owners of Pornhub, have faced accusations of this nature.

In the UK an investigation by The Sunday Times in November 2019 also found that Pornhub is flooded with secretly filmed “creepshots” of UK schoolgirls, hosting clips of men performing sex acts in front of teenagers on buses and indecent images of children as young as three.

As well as videos of rape and abuse, campaigners have also highlighted the prevalence of revenge porn on Pornhub.

Kate Isaacs founded a movement called #NotYourPorn when a revenge porn video was uploaded to the porn site of her friend, without her friend’s consent. She has since been campaigning for regulation in the porn industry to safeguard revenge porn victims.

Ms Isaacs told The Independent: “Women and children across the world are being exploited and packaged up as “pornstars” for profit without their consent.

“This could happen to any of us – it’s time the UK government put regulations in place to stop a multi-billion dollar company from profiting from individuals who haven’t given their consent to be used on Pornhub.”

Pornhub denies profiteering from non-consensual or underage content. The world’s biggest porn site is free to access, with no age restrictions, and raises profits through advertising sales and clicks on videos. As a hosting platform, Pornhub takes no legal responsibility for the videos that are uploaded.

A spokesperson for Pornhub told The Independent: “Pornhub has a steadfast commitment to eradicating and fighting any and all illegal content on the internet, including non-consensual content and under-age material. Any suggestion otherwise is categorically and factually inaccurate.

"Pornhub has actively worked to put in place state-of-the-art, comprehensive safeguards across its platform to combat and remove all unauthorized content that breaches the platform's policies.

"This includes a robust system for flagging, reviewing and removing all illegal material, age-verification tools, and employing an extensive team of human moderators dedicated to manually reviewing all uploads to the site.”

Pornhub reported that it had amassed 42 billion visitors in 2019 – an increase of 8.5 billion from the year before, with 1,200 searches per second.


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