Commentary

As Rape and Underage Sex Charges Mount, Sen. Sasse Calls on DOJ To Investigate Pornhub

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Consenting adults viewing other consenting adults engaging in sex acts online is something that happens millions of time a day.

People might have differing views on the prevalence of free, online pornography. No matter your stance on the issue, however, websites that host 24/7 access to sexually graphic videos do not appear to be going anywhere.

But some of these websites are not harmlessly hosting videos of consenting people, and in some cases, the participants are not even adults.

One of the porn industry’s biggest purveyors of sexually explicit online content, Pornhub, has hosted videos that show victims of human trafficking, including children, being sexually exploited.

To describe that as horrifying would be an understatement. Thankfully, attention is being brought to the issue.

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Sen. Ben Sasse asked the Department of Justice to launch an investigation into the popular pornography website after the allegations.

The Nebraska Republican wrote a letter to Attorney General William Barr on Monday asking for an investigation into Pornhub and its owner, Canada-based MindGeek.

“In several notable incidents over the past year, Pornhub made content available worldwide showing women and girls that were victims of trafficking being raped and exploited,” Sasse wrote.

“Pornhub’s incredible reach has a much darker side than the image of harmless fun that it tries to project,” he said.

Do you think the Justice Department should investigate Pornhub?

Sasse then cited examples of the website hosting videos that showed victims being abused.

“In October, police in Florida arrested a man trafficking a fifteen-year-old girl, missing from her family for nearly a year, who had been subjected to horrific abuse that included repeated rape and a forced abortion,” the senator wrote, noting that “her trafficker uploaded more than 60 pornographic videos of her to several sites, including Pornhub.”

Sasse Letter by The Western Journal on Scribd

Sasse was likely referring to a case in Florida in which a man was arrested and charged after posting pornographic videos of a 15-year-old girl.

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WPLG-TV reported that “the girl’s mother told detectives in September that several videos of her missing daughter performing sex acts on two men had been posted on various websites like Pornhub and Modelhub.”

Detectives said the teenager was “either fully nude (or) topless in all videos and performs oral sex and sexual intercourse in at least two of the videos.”

Sasse continued in his letter, “In another instance, your Department charged the two owners and two other employees of a popular pornographic film production company with a variety of sex trafficking offenses for employing a disturbing array of deceptive and coercive means to force women to make pornography that they later uploaded to Pornhub against their will.”

Writing that the publicized cases represent only “the tip of the iceberg of women and children being exploited,” Sasse concluded that Pornhub “must not escape scrutiny.”

California Rep. Jackie Speier made the Pornhub issue a bipartisan one Tuesday.

“Pornhub’s failure to remove nonconsensual pornography from its website is destroying lives,” the Democrat told Fox News.

“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,” Speier added.

Anti-trafficking activist Laila Mickelwait has started a petition asking U.S. and Canadian officials to go after MindGeek, which is based in Montreal.

“In the last few months, there have been several shocking cases of sex trafficking and child rape films that were hosted on Pornhub. A 15-year-old girl who had been missing for a year was finally found after her mother was tipped off that her daughter was being featured in videos on the site — 58 such videos of her rape and sexual abuse were discovered on Pornhub,” she wrote in her petition.

Mickelwait’s Change.org petition, which is titled “Shut Down Pornhub and Hold Its Executives Accountable for Aiding Trafficking,” had more than 435,000 signatures as of Wednesday morning.

Pornhub told Fox News that it is committed to “eradicating and fighting any and all illegal content on the internet, including non-consensual content and under-age material.”

It also said is “employing an extensive team of human moderators dedicated to manually reviewing every single upload.”

As Sasse noted in his letter to Barr, Pornhub boasted about receiving 42 billion visits and having a record 6.83 million new videos added to the platform by users in 2019.

How can that many videos be screened manually? The math doesn’t add up.

Perhaps with bipartisan support in Congress and a petition with support from hundreds of thousands of people, the continuing nightmare of women and girls having their attacks displayed online might end for some victims.

Going after Pornhub and other sites that feature such videos would, at the very least, add another weapon against human trafficking and ensure there is no sanctuary for those who are complicit in dehumanizing women and children.

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Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has authored thousands of news articles throughout his career. He has also worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.




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