Visa, Mastercard, Discover: Reject Pornhub and trafficking - FreedomUnited.org
Campaign Update:

COVID-19 Update: In addition to disproportionately affecting modern slavery victims and survivors, the pandemic has increased the risk of human trafficking in the commercial sex industry. Now more than ever, we must urge credit card companies to avoid being complicit in the trafficking of minors for profit. 

Visa, Mastercard, Discover: reject Pornhub and trafficking

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

Freedom United is supporting the Traffickinghub campaign, founded by Laila Mickelwait, that has gathered 800,000+ signatures by enabling you to send a message to credit card companies today and call on them to #RejectPornhub.

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.

Campaign Launches

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

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Donna Marie DziubekLiz AbadKimberly ChatleyDavid PhelpsSuzanne L. Recent comment authors
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Donna Marie Dziubek
Donna Marie Dziubek

Any person who uses others to make money off something as horrendous as raping a child, or an unwilling adult, is not fit to be free from prosecution. I use Mastercard to buy all the necessities that I need and I pay my balance in full every month. It is just convenient for me to keep track of my spending but I will forfeit my charge cards if Mastercard does not stop accepting charges from Pornhub. Even big business should not be greedy enough to accept their payment money.

Liz Abad
Liz Abad

Really thinking in cacelling my credit card if they have no answer to this petition.

Kimberly Chatley
Kimberly Chatley

This is horrific. These people are children, siblings, family members of others. These people who are exploited are children of God, created in His image, deserving of love and care. Violating these people is absolutely disgusting and anyone who supports this in any shape or form is as guilty as those committing the act of rape and sexual exploitation. These could be YOUR daughters, sons, brothers, or sisters – you are supporting their rape by offering services to sites such as these.

David Phelps
David Phelps

Stop this abuse

Suzanne L.
Suzanne L.

awful – porn is an industry which requires regulation – stop abusing minors!

Credit card companies: take a stand against Pornhub

Help us reach 20,000 actions
17,997

To: Visa, Mastercard and Discover

I am concerned about the well-documented links between Pornhub and the trafficking of minors for profit. The absence of any protection measures means that real footage of trafficking victims, including young children, are being uploaded and consumed as monetized content without fear of being taken down, let alone reported as a crime.

Your partnership with Pornhub allows users to upgrade their accounts facilitating the uploading of content by traffickers where it can then be viewed and consumed by billions, increasing Pornhub’s profits off the back of the extreme sexual abuse and torture of trafficking victims.

I am urging your business to reject Pornhub and end being complicit in the trafficking of minors for profit.

Yours sincerely,

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