Almost 850,000 people have signed a petition calling for Pornhub, one of the world’s largest pornography websites, to be shut down. The petition says the company’s executives should be held accountable for their involvement in allowing videos of rape, sexual abuse and violence against women and children to be posted.

The petition is sponsored by the organization Traffickinghub, along with a coalition of more than 250 other organizations – most of them groups who help victims of sexual exploitation. The appeal is directed toward the Department of Justice (DOJ) and other government agencies and officials in the U.S., Canada and Luxemburg. Pornhub is owned by MindGeek, a Canadian company with $800 million in annual revenue, registered in Luxemburg.

Traffickinghub is hoping to reach one million signatures. In addition to the DOJ, the petition asks the Federal Bureau of Investigation, President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and several U.S. Senators and Representatives to hold Pornhub accountable.

Others are joining in the outcry, asking Attorney General William Barr and the Department of Justice to enforce existing obscenity laws and to investigate Pornhub.

In December 2019 four members of Congress – Jim Banks, R-Ind., Mark Meadows, R-N.C., Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., and Brian Babin, R-Texas – sent Barr a letter asking him to enforce obscenity laws. The representatives wrote that the “Internet and other evolving technologies are fueling the explosion of obscene pornography.”

They wrote that the growth in “pornography coincides with an increase in violence towards women and an increase in the volume of human trafficking as well as child pornography” and encouraged Barr to “declare the prosecution of obscene pornography a criminal justice priority and urge your U.S. Attorneys to bring prosecutions against the major producers and distributors of such material.”

In early March, Life Site News reported that protestors gathered at MindGeek’s Montreal headquarters, shortly after it was revealed the company “had hosted 58 videos of a 15-year-old sex trafficking victim being raped.” The girl had been missing for more than a year. In addition to the sexual assaults and exploitation, her kidnapper forced her to have an abortion.

A pro-life group in Florida, the Personhood Alliance, asked Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody to “launch an official investigation into whether the abortion facility willfully ignored Florida’s Parental Notice of Abortion Act and failed to comply with federal and state mandatory reporting laws that require they alert authorities to suspected child abuse and trafficking.”

Pornhub had supposedly verified that the victim was an 18-year-old “model,” with a valid ID, performing in the videos. Life Site News began its own petition at that time, asking the Attorneys General of the U.S. and Canada to investigate and shut down the company.

On March 9, Senator Ben Sasse, R- Neb., and chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight, sent Attorney General Barr a letter asking the DOJ to “open an investigation into Pornhub and its parent entity MindGeek Holding SARL for their involvement in this disturbing pipeline of exploiting children “and other victims and survivors of sex trafficking.

Sasse cited Pornhub’s boast that “in 2019 there were over 42 billion visits to Pornhub, which means there was an average of 115 million visits per day” and listed several publicized instances of the company featuring video content of sexually trafficked women and children.

Given the amount of pornography featured on the site, Sasse said this was probably “just the tip of the iceberg of women and children being exploited in videos on Pornhub.”

Another Christian activist group, the Family Policy Alliance, also started a petition back in March, asking the U.S. Attorney General to investigate Pornhub. The group cited another horrific story of sexual abuse. A 14-year-old girl named Rose was assaulted and raped eleven years ago, and videos of the vicious attack were posted on Pornhub.

Rose, who is now 25, told the BBC she found out about the videos from peers at school. She said she “emailed Pornhub several times over a period of six months in 2009 to ask for the videos to be taken down.” It wasn’t until she posed as a lawyer and threatened Pornhub that they relented and removed the videos.

Since then, Rose has written about her ordeal in a blog post that went viral, and dozens of women – and some men – have responded to her, “saying that videos showing them being sexually abused had also appeared on the site.”

With hundreds of millions at home around the world due to coronavirus quarantines, pornography viewing on the internet increased in March and April. In response to stay-at-home orders, Pornhub began making “premium content” free in Italy, Spain and France.

Given the exploitive, abusive content of much of that “premium content,” it’s past time for the Department of Justice to begin investigating companies like Pornhub and MindGeek, holding them accountable.


Related resources:

Senator Ben Sasse Calls for Federal Investigation into Pornhub for Facilitating the Exploitation of Women and Minors

Traffickinghub’s petition

Family Policy Alliance’s petition

Life Site News’ petition

Focus on the Family help for victims of sexual abuse and assault

Focus on the Family resources for those struggling with pornography and sexual addiction

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Photo from TraffickingHub