Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, R-Neb., who chairs the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Pornhub and its owner MindGeek for their involvement in streaming videos of raped and exploited women and children. 

Pornhub reported in their 2018 insights receiving 33.5 billion visitors to its website and they claim daily visits now exceed 100 million.

“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 in a letter to Attorney General Bill Bar. “Indeed, the problem of Pornhub streaming content featuring women and children victims of sex trafficking reached the point in November that Paypal cut off services for Pornhub, refusing to facilitate this abuse any longer… Pornhub must not escape scrutiny. I therefore request that the Department 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.”

Newsweek reported last fall that a mother of a missing teenager in Florida found videos of her daughter online and investigators found she appeared in 58 videos on several sites including Pornhub.

Laila Mickelwait, the director of abolition at Exodus Cry, a non-profit that works to abolish sex trafficking and break the cycle of commercial sexual exploitation, in an op/ed in The Washington Examiner cited additional instances of exploited women having their videos uploaded to Pornhub by a pornographer who is under a federal indictment for child pornography and sex trafficking.

“Pornhub has no system in place to verify the girls (and I say ‘girls’ because they are not women) in the videos it hosts are not trafficked children being raped on film in order to line the pockets of its executives,” she wrote.

Also, BBC reported last month that a woman who was raped at the age of 14 found the video had been uploaded to Pornhub.

Mickelwait also started a petition calling for the shutdown of Pornhub that has been signed by over 426,000 people. The petition highlights a website called Traffickinghub.com that is a campaign of 75 organizations to shut the porn giant down.

Terry Schilling, executive director of American Principles Project, praised Sasse’s leadership taking on Pornhub. (Disclosure: This author works with APP.)

“There can be no denying it: the recent explosion of online pornography has enacted a terrible toll on American society. Of course, the disastrous impact of pornography use on public health is well-documented. But even worse has been the porn industry’s horrific exploitation of women and children, both directly and indirectly, for its own financial gain. And all too often, those in power have been content to look the other way rather than confront this growing crisis,” he said in a released statement.

“Thankfully, however, there are still some courageous enough to take on this fight. Sen. Ben Sasse has shown true leadership today in calling on DOJ to investigate Pornhub over its alleged complicity in sexual trafficking and abuse. APP strongly commends the Senator for calling attention to this issue, and we urgently implore the Trump administration to take every step in its power to protect vulnerable women and children from this dangerous industry,” Schilling added.

Read Sasse’s full letter below:

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