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Major Pornography Website Faces Consequences After Profiting Off the Exploitation of Sexual Abuse Victims

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Advocates for sexual exploitation survivors have reason to celebrate this week, as a recent development suggests the pornography industry may finally be held accountable for hosting illegal sexual content.

According to a Monday report, the pornography website XTube will shut down this September. XTube is owned by MindGeek, the parent company of several sexually explicit platforms such as Pornhub, RedTube and YouPorn.

In a Tuesday statement to Fox Business, MindGeek claimed the reason behind the website’s closure was merely a business decision on behalf of its customers.

“Like any tech company, we are constantly evaluating our content offerings and products to best serve our users,” MindGeek said.

“XTube has always had a dedicated but small community, and we believe that its users and creators will be better served on one of our existing platforms, where they will be able to take advantage of wider reach and increased visibility.”

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Despite the company’s claims, however, it is hard to separate XTube’s closure with the ongoing controversy surrounding the legality of the material published on the platform and similar pornographic websites.

Laila Mickelwait, founder of the activist group Traffickinghub, celebrated the news of XTube’s permanent shutdown. Mickelwait’s Traffickinghub campaign works to expose how pornographic websites and their executives profit from the “mass sex-trafficking and exploitation of women and minors.”

In a Tuesday tweet, the advocate appeared hopeful the recent development will lead to the pornography industry’s downfall.

“Another one bites the dust,” she wrote.

“Soon we’ll be saying goodbye to the whole ‘MindGeek Criminal Enterprise’ as owners Antoon, Tassillo and Bergmair are hauled away in handcuffs for profiting from & globally distributing “child pornography”/CSAM, rape & sex trafficking.”

Back in December, The New York Times drew attention to the criminally exploitative nature of Pornhub, exposing how such websites profit off abusive material such as “child rapes” and other horrific “racist and misogynist content.”

That same month, Visa and Mastercard barred the use of their companies’ credit cards on Pornhub, with the latter instituting new rules on April 14 for banks that process payments for pornographic sites.

“The banks that connect merchants to our network will need to certify that the seller of adult content has effective controls in place to monitor, block and, where necessary, take down all illegal content,” John Verdeschi, a Mastercard senior vice president, said in a statement.

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Combined with XTube’s recent closure, these are the right steps to take toward holding pornography sites accountable for the material they post.

In addition to Mickelwait, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation was pleased with the news of XTube’s impending closure, explaining what the development means for the future of the anti-pornography movement.

“XTube’s closure is a clear victory for the movement to hold Pornhub, MindGeek, and the pornography industry accountable for their facilitation of sexual abuse and exploitation,” the group wrote in a Tuesday statement on its website.

Does there need to be further accountability in the pornography industry?

Similar to Pornhub, NCOSE noted XTube does not properly verify the ages of individuals depicted in materials on its website, nor does it ensure the individuals consented to their image being displayed online.

In a May 24 interview with The Western Journal, Patrina Mosley, deputy director of legislative policy at NCOSE, speculated about how XTube and other MindGeek sites have evaded consequences for hosting illegal content for so long.

According to Mosley, MindGeek claims it is not “liable” for the criminal content people publish on its sites due to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.

Under the policy, internet platforms can claim their status as a public forum means the onus is not on them to remove inappropriate content from their site, protecting their audiences’ “free speech” rights.

The hypersexual and potential criminality of the content posted on these pornographic websites, however, should be taken into account before anyone declares it deserves such protections. As Mosley noted, Pornhub and its sister sites often feature nonconsenting individuals who are unaware a camera is on them or are too intoxicated to refuse.

“So we know that these are crime scenes being committed and filmed and monetized,” Mosley said.

“And by their own admission, they say they view each and every video or image that is uploaded to their platform. So they are knowingly facilitating and distributing these crime scenes.”

While the shuttering of XTube is a promising development, it is not enough. The pornography industry has profited off the exploitation of vulnerable people for far too long, and it is time for companies like MindGeek to be held responsible for knowingly hosting criminal sexual content.

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Samantha Kamman is an associate staff writer for The Western Journal. She has been published in several media outlets, including Live Action News and the Washington Examiner.
Samantha Kamman is an associate staff writer for The Western Journal. She has been published in several media outlets, including Live Action News and the Washington Examiner.




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