• Clodagh Meaney

This is why over 1 million people have signed a petition to shut down Pornhub

The porn site has come under fire by campaigners

By Clodagh Meaney

Over one million people have signed a petition to shut down porn website Pornhub following a viral campaign which states that the website is enabling mass sex trafficking, rape and exploitation of women and minors.

Founded by Laila Mickelwait of Traffickinghub and anti-trafficking organisation, Exodus Cry, the petition calls not only for the website to be shut down, but also for the executives to be held accountable for the mass exploitation.

The petition cites a number of instances where minors were raped, often repeatedly, before the footage was uploaded to the website with ease by their abuser.

One story highlighted a 15-year-girl who was missing for over a year. 58 videos of her rape and sexual abuse were filmed and published to Pornhub.

Earlier this year, another story came to light. in February the story of Rose Kalemba from Ohio, USA was put in the spotlight when she wrote a blog about her experience.

When she was just 14-years-old she was taken at knifepoint and raped for 12 hours before six videos of the crime scene and her abuse were uploaded to Pornhub.

The now 25-year-old said that she spent six months pleading with Pornhub to remove the videos. It wasn't until she posed as a lawyer, and threatened legal action that the videos were finally removed.

Further to this, the petition outlines that in 2019, Internet Watch Foundation alone had confirmed 118 cases of child rape and sexual abuse on the site.

Late last year, The Sunday Times published an investigation into the porn site where they reported finding a number of illegal child abuse videos, including videos of children as young as three years old.

The report also brought Unilever and Kraft Heinz under fire for advertising on the site which is allegedly "awash with illegal content."

Earlier this year, 22 women were awarded €11.5 million in damages after they were coerced into filming videos later published on Pornhub, by the owner of GirlsDoPorn, Michael Pratt.

The company placed advertising for models on Craigslist, and upon responding to the advertisement, women were told that the job was shooting pornography which they were told would be sold on DVD to private collectors abroad.

Instead, the videos were posted to Pornhub and the women's identities were circulated online.

"Pornhub is complicit in the trafficking of these women and minors and probably thousands more like them," said Laila Mickelwait, founder of Traffickinghub.

"Pornhub is generating millions in advertising and membership revenue with 42 billion visits and six million videos uploaded per year. Yet it has no system in place to verify reliably the age or consent of those featured in the pornographic content it hosts and profits from," she explained.

"In fact, all that is needed to upload pornography onto Pornhub is an email address. No government-issued ID is required, not even to become “verified” with its trusty blue checkmark that makes everything seem a-OK."

Laila explained that she knows this is the case because it is something she tested herself.

"It took me under 10 minutes to create a user account and upload blank test content to the site, which went live instantly."

"I could have then gone on to become Pornhub-verified, and all I would need to do is send a photo of myself holding a paper with my username. That’s it."

Laila referenced the 15-year-old girl who was abused in 58 videos on their website, saying it came as no surprise that the site admitted to verifying the girl.

"The official Twitter account for Pornhub wrote in response to the breaking story that the 15-year-old girl had been a verified member."

"After quickly realising it had just admitted to assisting in her being trafficked, the account deleted the tweets, but the evidence of the admission was cached and still exists."

Laila said that the most-searched term on the website is "teen" pornography.

"The search will result in videos that are constantly being added faster than any individual could watch them."

"Pornhub has no reliable system in place to verify that those in the videos it hosts are not trafficked children being raped on film in order to line the pockets of its executives," she said.

"What all of this means is that at this very moment, there could be hundreds, if not thousands, of videos of underage sex trafficking victims on Pornhub. We already have evidence, and it is just the tip of the iceberg."

You can find out more about Traffickinghub, and sign the petition here.

If you have been affected by any of the themes in this article, please reach out.

Victims of Pornhub/Mindgeek can reach out to the campaign here.

Rape Crisis Centre - 1800 77 88 88

Crime Victims Helpline - 116 006

© 2020 by EMPWR

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