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PornHub and Human Trafficking by Clara Dennison

With this piece I feel I must warn any reader that this piece is not easy.

Trigger warning: Rape and Sexual Assualt

The issue at hand is not with pornography itself, but rather with what the unregulated pornography industry has become. Having had free reign over what they do, PornHub has completely failed at creating a system to tackle human trafficking, rape, and child sexual abuse. Stories of people like Serena K. Fleites, who at 14 had a naked video of her uploaded to PornHub, reaching 400,000 views, dramatically changed her life in one of the worst ways possible.

Other stories reported by the organization Exodus Cry who run TraffickingHub, a movement whose goal is to take down PornHub on the basis of human trafficking, reported “a 15-year-old girl who had been missing for a year was found after her mother was tipped off that her daughter was being featured in videos on the site — 58 such videos of her rape and sexual abuse were discovered on Pornhub,” and “14-year-old Rose Kalemba from Ohio who was taken at knifepoint, raped for twelve hours, and had the crime scene videos of her abuse were uploaded to Pornhub. Rose said that she pleaded with Pornhub to remove the videos of her rape and torture for months, and it wasn’t until she posed as a lawyer and threatened legal action that Pornhub finally took them down.” 

Of all the largest sites on the internet in 2020, PornHub took down, of its estimated 7,000 years’ worth of porn, only 118 videos for instances of child sexual abuse while Facebook took down 12.4 million instances. In a quote from the New York Times article Children of PornHub, “The Internet Watch Foundation couldn’t explain why its figure for Pornhub is so low. Perhaps it’s because people on Pornhub are inured to the material and unlikely to report it. But if you know what to look for, it’s possible to find hundreds of apparent child sexual abuse videos on Pornhub in thirty minutes. Pornhub has recently offered playlists with names including “less than 18,” “the best collection of young boys” and “under- – age.”

The UN’s definition of human trafficking is “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons for the purpose of exploitation,” and an unregulated PornHub only assists in this global crisis. So I ask you, if you can, sign the petition on the TraffickingHub website, read into it, and contact your representative to demand this injustice to be tackled.

Over 2.5 million people, with 60% of those being children, are victims of human trafficking each year, and by allowing websites like PornHub to go unregulated, we only continue to allow the exploitation of humans.