The pornography website Pornhub announced that it’s enacting new standards after an exposé revealed the company has been profiting off videos of rape and child sex trafficking victims.
In response to a New York Times report published last week exposing its child victims, Pornhub announced the “huge changes,” which include: Allowing only verified users to upload content, preventing users from downloading most content, and forming relationships with nonprofits to flag content.
“At Pornhub, nothing is more important than the safety of our community. Our core values such as inclusivity, freedom of expression and privacy are only possible when our platform is trusted by our users. This is why we have always been committed to eliminating illegal content, including non-consensual material and child sexual abuse material. Every online platform has the moral responsibility to join this fight, and it requires collective action and constant vigilance,” the statement said in part.
Dawn Hawkins, senior vice president and executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, an anti-pornography group, took issue with Pornhub’s claims.
“Pornhub cannot be trusted: it has profited for years from rape, child sexual abuse material, sex trafficking, and revenge pornography. The New York Times exposed Pornhub for what it is: a profiteer of rape. Any number of ‘improvements’ will not change that fact,” said Hawkins in a statement on Tuesday.
“Pornhub executives are liars when they claim they care about safety. Beyond their extensive history of facilitating and profiting from crimes of sexual abuse and exploitation, we know many survivors who have repeatedly reached out to Pornhub to have nonconsensually-shared material — as well as videos of rape — removed, but their requests were ignored.”
Pornhub is one of the most visited websites in the world, averaging approximately 3.5 billion visits a month, making it more popular than Amazon, Netflix or Yahoo.
On Dec. 4, Nicholas Kristof wrote a lengthy opinion column for The New York Times detailing how many minors have had videos of their rape and abuse uploaded to Pornhub.
According to Kristof, a search of the pornography site for “girls under 18” or “14 yo” produced over 100,000 videos with most of the results showing minors.
“After a 15-year-old girl went missing in Florida, her mother found her on Pornhub — in 58 sex videos. Sexual assaults on a 14-year-old California girl were posted on Pornhub and were reported to the authorities not by the company but by a classmate who saw the videos,” he wrote.
“In each case, offenders were arrested for the assaults, but Pornhub escaped responsibility for sharing the videos and profiting from them.”
Soon after the column was published, Republican members of Congress called upon the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Pornhub and its parent company, Mindgeek.
“Sexual exploitation and human trafficking are abhorrent, period. A decent society should be working to end this,” said Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska to The Daily Caller.
“It is completely unacceptable that Pornhub and its parent company Mindgeek make money from rape, sexual abuse, and the exploitation of minors. They need to be investigated, and the DOJ needs more urgency about building cases against creeps.”