The sexual exploitation of women and children on the internet continues unabated, say 132 survivors of sexual abuse and 630 organizations and victims’ advocates. It’s the responsibility of Congress, they assert, to push the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to do their job and investigate organizations such as MindGeek, the parent company that runs the internet pornography site, Pornhub.

In their letter to Congress, these victims and their advocates ask lawmakers, “Please use your authority to protect vulnerable and victimized adults and children from this predatory and unethical corporation, a firm that exemplifies the depth and breadth of criminality when law enforcement fails to police digital space.”

MindGeek owns approximately 160 hardcore pornography sites in addition to Pornhub, according to the letter. It has been criticized internationally for “facilitating and profiting from criminal acts including sex trafficking, filmed sexual abuse of children, and non-consensually recorded and distributed pornography.”

A New York Times investigation last year revealed that Pornhub attracts 3.5 billion visits per month, which makes it more popular than Netflix, Yahoo or Amazon. It is the 10th-most visited website in the world. The pornography that is uploaded to the site by its users includes videos of rapes and child sexual abuse. MindGeek monetizes it and also sells advertising for its sites.

The Canadian government has launched an investigation into Pornhub and MindGeek, and there are numerous civil suits in the U.S. filed against the company, according to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE).

But the U.S. government has been slow in doing anything about this issue.

“Congress must act to bring justice for survivors whose pleas to remove their child sexual abuse, sex trafficking and non-consensually recorded and distributed material on MindGeek-owned Pornhub have been repeatedly ignored,” said Dawn Hawkins, CEO of NCOSE.

Survivors of sexual exploitation relate that pleas to Pornhub and MindGeek to take down the non-consensual videos of them have been ignored for weeks and months, allowing hundreds and thousands more downloads to take place.

The victims’ letter to Congress is both desperate and adamant: “We are compelled to write to all of you because grave crimes are being committed across the nation with, it appears, total impunity. Together, your committees have oversight over U.S. federal law enforcement including the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). Only you have the power to discover why the sexual assault of women and children, child sexual abuse material (also known as child pornography), and non-consensual intimate images are being uploaded and distributed on internet platforms. This is occurring with no apparent legal consequences to individual perpetrators or the digital facilitators of monetized sexual abuse (which constitutes human trafficking) as well as criminal sexual violence, and gross violations of privacy rights.”

MindGeek has allegedly violated federal laws prohibiting the distribution of child pornography and failed to require age verification of those pictured in uploaded images and video, according to the letter. The NYT reports the company is based in Montreal, Canada and run by Feras Antoon and David Tassillo, both Canadians.

Last month NCOSE gave a briefing on MindGeek’s activities to over 70 members of Congress and their staff, as well as 2000 other registrants, including journalists, law enforcement officials and the general public.

Both Visa and Mastercard have cut ties with Pornhub since the NYT’s article. And some members of Congress have spoken out in the past and demanded an investigation of Pornhub and MindGeek.

If and when congressional leaders respond to the victims’ letter, The Daily Citizen will bring you an update. The safety and well-being of the exploited children and women in these images and videos ought to be of paramount importance to us all as citizens, and especially as Christians, who understand that such practices are offensive, and unbiblical.

Matthew 18:6 (ESV) depicts Jesus’ words of protection for children: “…[B]ut whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

Related articles and resources:

Growing Outcry for DOJ to Investigate and Shut Down Pornhub for Obscenity, Child Exploitation and Sex Trafficking

XVideos Sued for Profiting from Child Sexual Abuse and Trafficking

Four Congressmen Ask Attorney General Barr to Prosecute Obscene Pornography

Resources to Help You Fight Pornography Addition 

Addicted to Pornography 

Helping a Spouse Overcome Addiction to Pornography

Facts and Research on Human Trafficking

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