07:35 GMT21 October 2020
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    An online petition on Change.org accusing open access porn site Pornhub of hosting sex trafficking and child rape films recently gained the support of nearly 430,000 individuals.

    The petition, which was started by a group called Exodus Cry dedicated to stopping sex trafficking, presently has a goal of 500,000 signatures. According to the petition’s organizers, Pornhub is making millions of dollars in advertising and membership fees but 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 also notes how a 15-year-old girl - who had been missing for a year - was eventually found being featured in 58 videos on PornHub, where she was being forced into having sex with her trafficker, who is currently facing a lewd battery felony charge. The petition claims that Pornhub even admitted to verifying the teenager; however, when Pornhub realized that it was admitting to being complicit in a sex trafficking case, it deleted the tweets stating that the girl had been verified.

    The campaigners also cite the $12.7 million lawsuit against company GirlsDoPorn after 22 women were tricked by its owner, Michael Pratt, into performing sexual acts on video that were later uploaded to Pornhub without their consent. 

    The US federal indictment against Pratt and his co-conspirators states that he filmed “child rape and sexual abuse content and trafficked a minor.” 

    “But there are other individuals who should also be wanted by law enforcement — CEO Feras Antoon and COO David Tassillo of Mindgeek, the company that owns Pornhub,” the petition states, noting that these individuals are “complicit in the trafficking of these women and minors and probably thousands more like them.”

    According to Exodus Cry, anyone can become verified on Pornhub without even presenting a government-issued ID. In fact, all that is required to become a verified member on Pornhub and be allowed to upload pornography is an email address and a photo of oneself, the petition says. 

    In addition, the petition explains that one of the most searched words on Pornhub is “teen,” with many of the women featured under this category looking very young.

    In a statement to the Guardian, Mindgeek refuted the claims that it is complicit in sex trafficking and child rape.

    “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 statement reads.

    The petition comes as US Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) urged the US Department of Justice (DoJ) on Tuesday to launch an investigation into the allegations that Pornhub hosts videos of sex trafficking victims and children. In a letter to the government agency, Sasse wrote that the “publicized cases clearly represent just the tip of the iceberg of women and children being exploited in videos on Pornhub.”

    The official further stressed that “Pornhub must not escape scrutiny."   

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    Tags:
    Child Rape, Sex Trafficking, Lawsuit, Pornhub
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