Visa, Mastercard, Discover: Reject Pornhub and trafficking -

Visa, Mastercard, Discover: reject Pornhub and trafficking

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Trigger warning: this campaign has descriptions of child sexual abuse that may be upsetting for some readers.

Update: We have ended our affiliation with Traffickinghub for repeatedly violating our My Story, My Dignity principles. Please see our update tab for more information.

Freedom United is calling on Pornhub to implement measures to prevent the exploitation of victims of trafficking. We only support this specific measure within the Traffickinghub campaign, not Traffickinghub’s call to shut down Pornhub. Click here to read our in-depth briefing on trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Pornhub is one of the world’s largest porn sites and it’s been getting away with profiting from the trafficking of minors.

Owned by porn giant, Mindgeek, Pornhub has repeatedly come under fire1 for its refusal to implement strong safeguarding measures to ensure real footage of the extreme sexual abuse and torture of trafficking victims doesn’t end up on the site, ready to be consumed by millions.

In the last few months, there have been several shocking cases of trafficking and child rape films that were hosted on Pornhub. A 15-year-old girl who had been missing for a year was finally 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.2

Her trafficker, who was seen in the videos raping the child, was identified using surveillance footage of him at a 7-Eleven where he was spotted with his victim. He is now facing a felony charge.

In February 2020, the BBC reported the harrowing story of 14-year-old Rose Kalemba from Ohio who was taken at knifepoint, raped for 12 hours, and the crime scene videos of her abuse were uploaded to Pornhub.3 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.

Twenty-two women were also deceived and coerced by Michael Pratt, owner of GirlsDoPorn, into performing sex acts on film that were subsequently uploaded to Pornhub. These women sued GirlsDoPorn and won a $12.7 million lawsuit against the company, and Pornhub agreed to remove the GirlsDoPorn official Pornhub channel. But months later, these videos were still being shared on Pornhub, forcing victims to relive their trauma.4

One woman found that a video she appeared in had amassed over 9 million views.5 According to a federal indictment, Michael Pratt and his co-conspirators produced and filmed child rape and sexual abuse content and trafficked a minor. Pratt reportedly fled the United States for New Zealand and is currently wanted on a federal warrant.

These are not isolated cases. In 2019, the Internet Watch Foundation stated that it alone had confirmed 118 cases of child rape and sexual abuse on Pornhub—half of the videos were Category A level abuse, which includes penetration and sadism. PayPal terminated its partnership with Pornhub as a result.6

Despite mounting evidence of footage of trafficking victims being shared on Pornhub, Mindgeek said in a statement: “Pornhub has a steadfast commitment to eradicating and fighting non-consensual content and under-age material. Any suggestion otherwise is categorically and factually inaccurate.”7

But with not even a simple age and consent verification system in place, how can Pornhub possibly know whether footage of trafficked women and children is being uploaded, viewed and shared? Shockingly, all you need is an email address to create a user account on Pornhub. The account sharing videos showing a trafficked 15-year-old girl in 58 videos had even been verified by Pornhub.

Whilst there are measures Pornhub could put in place to reduce the risk of child trafficking content being shared on their site, such as requiring proof of government-issued ID for all content, they are choosing not to and failing to do everything in their power to prevent this crime.

Freedom United is dedicated to ending human trafficking and strives to ensure its activities do not impinge on sex workers’ rights.

Sex workers in the industry have long criticized Mindgeek for its lack of protection measures8 and its reluctance to ensure performers’ content on their sites including Pornhub, RedTube and YouPorn, isn’t pirated. Performers continue to call out Pornhub and Mindgeek for stealing their content, seriously impacting their livelihoods and “having destabilized and monopolized” the porn industry.9 Not only does Pornhub have a piracy and trafficking problem, but it benefits from sharing illegal content.

Now, we’re calling on major credit card companies to cut ties with Pornhub and reject working with a company that is only concerned with generating profit, even at the expense of trafficking victims. Send them a message today and ask them to reject Pornhub and trafficking.

Visa, Mastercard and Discover all process payments on Pornhub’s site, facilitating the uploading of content by traffickers where it can then be viewed and consumed by millions, increasing Pornhub’s profits off the back of extreme sexual abuse and torture of trafficking victims.

Pornhub has no reliable system in place to verify the age or consent of those featured in pornographic content, nor is there a system in place to determine whether the content being uploaded is, in fact, depicting victims of trafficking.

With an estimated 42 billion visits and 6 million videos uploaded every year, and no robust safeguarding measures in place, it is almost impossible for Pornhub to ensure that traffickers are not uploading criminal content to their site. Furthermore, Pornhub has shown clear reluctance to remove content flagged as rape and trafficking, despite pleas from survivors.

But credit card companies can take a stand and avoid being complicit in the trafficking of minors for profit by cutting ties with Pornhub for good.

We’ve written to Visa, Mastercard and Discover letting them know about Pornhub’s links to trafficking and how they can take a stand by terminating their partnership with Pornhub.

Join the campaign today and urge all card companies to reject Pornhub and trafficking.

  • August 24, 2021: Today we are ending our affiliation with Traffickinghub. It has become clear that the Traffickinghub campaign has repeatedly violated our My Story, My Dignity principles. We firmly believe that survivors and those with lived experience of trafficking should have their stories represented with dignity and accuracy, centering survivors’ agency in telling their stories. We do not believe Traffickinghub’s greater aim to shut down the entire porn industry is the answer to preventing human trafficking.

  • December 15, 2020:  3 out of 3! Discover has just cut ties with Pornhub, following action from Mastercard & Visa. Pornhub’s content moderation systems must effectively prevent the monetization of trafficking survivors’ experiences before payments from credit card companies resume. Thank you to everyone who took action to ask credit card companies to #DeclinePornhub.

  • December 11, 2020: Campaign win! Visa and Mastercard have suspended the use of their cards on Pornhub whilst they investigate content on the site that depicts extreme sexual abuse, including of trafficking victims. Thank you to everyone who wrote to Visa and Mastercard calling on them to #DeclinePornhub. Read more here.

  • October 2, 2020: We joined a demonstration outside Pornhub’s parent company, Mindgeek, in London calling them out for profiting from trafficking and abuse.

Chip in and help end modern slavery once and for all.


Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

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4 years ago
Reply to  M Walker

I trully hope that your stetement is nothing but a severely poor choice of words… Authoritarian feminism? You either 1) don’t have children, 2) do not understand basic concept of respect, 3) don’t have female relatives that you care for/respect, 4) recur to porn to have what would otherwise be non-existing sexual interaction. Oh, almost forgot… 5) have no idea what feminism is (not to worry – a lot of women don’t understand it either, but doubt they would refer to fighting porn as feminism…)

Vaia Patta
Vaia Patta
4 years ago

I am extremely angered and saddened by this shameless enabling of sexual abuse. I applaud Paypal for breaking their collaboration with Pornhub and I am going to avoid immoral credit card companies as much as possible in my future transactions.

4 years ago

In this matter, The Banks have become ancillaries to Pimps, and deserve our total loathing ! – Sex for sale is as old as the hills, and will never end ! – Violence, and Sexual Assault for repeat Rape MUST be urgent action for Police, irrespective of ethnic or religious grouping ! – This MUST be dealt with, but is topped by children being taken, actions being filmed for gain, by an utterly illegal Pimp Company ! – Banks cannot just claim that they didn’t know, and their action is demanded !

Roland M. Palacios
Roland M. Palacios
4 years ago

It shouldn’t be just be just Pornhub, anytime big money is involve the potential for exploitation of women and minors will always be real. All sites should do a better job of providing information that these women are of age and there at their own choice.

3 years ago

This is done by people with no morals for adult men have sexualised children If you see no wrong in this let me ask you a question would you leave your children in the care of someone who watches films of children being raped over and over again? A child cannot consent to their own assault so this is a hideous state of affairs when the rape of a child is presented as adult pornography.

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