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Pornhub Under Fire After Videos Of Rapes, Sex Trafficking Victims Posted To Site
HONG KONG, CHINA - 2018/12/02: In this photo illustration, the Pornographic video sharing website Pornhub logo is seen displayed on an Android mobile device with a figure of hacker in the background.
Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Internet porn empire Pornhub has come under fire in recent days for featuring videos of rape and sex trafficking victims on its platform.

In an explosive op-ed in the Washington Examiner on Sunday, Laila Mickelwait noted “several shocking cases of sex trafficking and child rape films that were hosted on Pornhub” over the past few months, including one involving a 15-year-old girl who was missing for up to a year until her mother discovered 58 videos of her being hosted on the site. The girl’s trafficker was eventually spotted in a 7-Eleven surveillance video before police arrested him. Another case involved Michael Pratt, owner of GirlsDoPorn, who coerced 22 women into performing sex acts on camera; the acts were later posted to Pornhub.

“These women sued GirlsDoPorn and won a $12.7 million lawsuit against the company,” reported Mickelwait. “According to a federal indictment, Pratt and his co-conspirators produced child pornography and trafficked a minor. Pratt reportedly fled the United States for New Zealand and is currently wanted on a federal warrant.”

So how does Pornhub factor into this? Does the site in any way bear responsibility for these women being sex trafficked for the purpose of exploitation on its platform? According to Mickelwait, the site hosts up to six million videos per year that collectively generate a whopping 42 billion visitors and huge ad revenue. Throughout all this, the site “has no system in place to verify reliably the age or consent of those featured in the pornographic content it hosts.”

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

Beyond that, a simple search for “teen porn” on the site yields hundreds of videos featuring girls who look very young, complete with “braces, pigtails … and extremely young faces.” Some girls are even shown “holding teddy bears and licking lollipops.”

According to a recent investigation by VICE Motherboard, Pornhub’s alleged “high-tech solution” meant to stop the spread and posting of such videos is all but useless:

Pornhub claims that victims of nonconsensual porn — as many of the Girls Do Porn videos are — can easily request to remove videos from the site, and that those videos can be “fingerprinted.” Broadly speaking, video fingerprinting is a method for software to identify, extract, and then summarize characteristic components or metadata of a video, allowing that video to be uniquely identified by its “fingerprint.”

But a Motherboard investigation found that this system can be easily and quickly circumvented with minor editing. Pornhub’s current method for removing Girls Do Porn videos and other forms of non-consensual porn not only puts the onus of finding and flagging videos almost entirely on potentially-traumatized victims — those victims can’t even rely on the system to work.

Dr. Ann Olivarius, founder of McAllister Olivarius, bluntly stated that Pornhub essentially has no incentive to regulate such videos so long as they continue to pad its bottom line.

“The core problem is that image-based abuse videos (so-called revenge porn), and coerced videos such as Girls Do Porn, are a significant part of Pornhub and other sites’ business models,” said Dr. Olivarius. “They are massively popular with users and with site owners, and either free or incredibly cheap to produce. What, exactly, is the incentive for a site like Pornhub to remove one of their most popular products?”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Pornhub Under Fire After Videos Of Rapes, Sex Trafficking Victims Posted To Site