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Commentary

Survivors and Anti-Porn Groups Call for Criminal Investigation of Pornhub Parent Company MindGeek

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Advocacy groups committed to defending sexual exploitation survivors are calling on legislators to address the criminal content on pornography websites.

On May 18, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation joined more than 700 sexual exploitation survivors and anti-pornography groups in filing a joint letter to leaders and ranking members on various congressional committees. The letter called on those in power to investigate Pornhub’s parent company MindGeek and its other 160 “hardcore pornography websites.”

The joint letter noted MindGeek’s “corporate indifference regarding harm caused to women and children on its platform,” pointing out the lack of “apparent legal consequences to individual perpetrators or the digital facilitators” that profit from the “monetized sexual abuse” on these websites.

This is not the first time that sexually exploitative content on pornography “tube” sites has generated massive public concern, however. In fact, the topic appears to have increased in focus as of late.

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In December, New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof published a damning report about Pornhub, condemning the website for monetizing abusive material such as “child rapes” and other horrific “racist and misogynist content.”

Prompted by Kristof’s report, credit card companies like Mastercard and Visa barred the use of their company’s cards on Pornhub that same month. Then, on April 14, Mastercard went further, announcing that it had instituted new rules for banks that process payments for pornographic sites.

Some of the new regulations include requiring banks to verify the age and identity of individuals depicted in the material on the site and ensuring the individual consented to their image being displayed online. The policy also made it clear that the company would not conduct business with pornography websites that do not abide by its new rules.

While this is an example of a small step that credit card companies can take to cripple the pornography industry and prevent it from profiting off of exploited victims, more must be done to hold sites like Pornhub accountable for posting such content.

No Immunity for Promoting Sexual Abuse

Should pornographic tube sites be held accountable for the illegal material they host online?

Patrina Mosley, deputy director of legislative policy at NCOSE, said that she hoped the letter would force Congress to see the “mass enterprise facilitating child sex trafficking and the distribution of child pornography.”

“These are crimes on the books that are being committed as far as, you know, the everyday runnings of a business, and that shouldn’t be happening,” Mosley told The Western Journal.

The NCOSE director speculated that one reason Pornhub and MindGeek have evaded accountability for so long is that these companies claim they are not “liable” for such material due to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.

Under the policy, internet platforms can claim that, as a public forum, they are not responsible for failing to monitor and remove content people post to their websites, as it falls under the category of “free speech.”

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But Mosley alleged that the videos and images on Pornhub include hypersexual content of women, and even infants and toddlers. These parties are obviously “in a state of nonconsent” — especially when the individuals displayed on the site are drunk or unknowingly under a spy camera.

“So we know that these are crime scenes being committed and filmed and monetized,” the NCOSE director 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.”

Pornography sites must be held accountable for hosting criminal sexual content. The best way to do that, Mosley believes, is to reform Section 230, making it clear that the policy’s protections do not apply to “illegal material and depiction of child abuse.”

“I think that’s something that should be bipartisan. It’s something that all Americans can rally around.”

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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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