December 21, 2020

Enough Is Enough® Calls On DOJ To Investigate MindGeek For A Trifecta Of Potential U.S. Law Violations

GREAT FALLS, Va., Dec. 21, 2020 -- Enough Is Enough® (EIE), a national non-profit organization who has been leading the fight to make Internet safer for children and families since 1994, launched a petition calling on federal and state prosecutors to aggressively enforce all existing laws designed to prevent the sexual exploitation of children in the digital world, per EIE's Children's Internet Safety Presidential Pledge and State Attorneys General Pledge. Child pornography, trafficking, sexual predation and obscenity laws were explicitly listed as key components of both Pledges. More than 9,300 people have signed the petition to date. 

An explosive New York Times article recently confirmed that Pornhub, owned by MindGeek, the largest aggregate of pornographic content in the world with more than 42 billion hits in 2019, "is infested with rape videos. It monetizes child rapes, revenge pornography, spycam videos of women showering, racist and misogynist content".

Between 2017-2019, the Internet Watch Foundation confirmed 118 cases of child rape on Pornhub, and the site is reported to have profited from sex trafficking victims exploited on its platform.

"Online pornographers, like Pornhub, are blatantly breaking U.S. laws every minute and getting away with it," alleged EIE President Donna Rice Hughes. "We call on the Department of Justice to investigate porn giant, Pornhub, for a trifecta of violations of existing obscenity, child pornography, and sex trafficking laws, and hold MindGeek executives liable for breaking federal criminal laws."

Obscenity, commonly known as hard-core pornography, is illegal and has no first amendment protection. 18 U.S.C. Chapter 71 § 1460-1470 prohibits distribution of hardcore pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops, and by common carrier.

Graphic "obscene" pornography is the primary type of content on Pornhub. Themes depicting teens, incest, torture, strangulation, bestiality, waterboarding, gang bang, and eroticized racism are rampant on the site. The top video categories on Pornhub include statutory rape, strangulation, and teen porn.

Research shows this content fuels a vicious cycle of abuse including child sex abuse, sex crimes, sexual exploitation, violence against women, child pornography (a.k.a. child sex abuse material or CSAM), sex trafficking, and sexual predation.

Children under the age of 10 now account for 22% of online porn consumption among those under age 18, while 10-14-year-olds make up 36% of minor consumers of porn sites featuring categories such as 'extreme brutal gang bang,' 'sleep assault,' 'domestic discipline,' and 'crying in pain.' There currently is no age verification system in place on Pornhub and other online porn sites to prevent minor children from viewing this toxic content.

Sadly, extreme porn has become the de facto sex educator of many children, conditioning them into believing that sexual violence, degradation and humiliation is acceptable. Multiple studies show that pornography use leads to an increased risk of committing sexual offenses. The average age of first perpetration of sexual violence is between 15 -16 years old and is strongly associated with exposure to violent pornography.

Last week, MasterCard and VISA announced they will terminate use of their credit cards to make purchases on Pornhub. In response to this financial pressure, media attention and the Traffickinghub campaign, Pornhub responded with both policy changes and the removal some of the rape and trafficking videos, for now.

"This is nothing more than a smokescreen. Once the pressure is off, Pornhub will more than likely get back to business as usual. DOJ must strike while the iron is hot and aggressively use the stick of the law. Any attempt by Pornhub to offer policy change is too little, too late. The victims depicted in the exploitive videos have been irreparably harmed and repeatedly commercially exploited. The images of their humiliation have been downloaded and shared to live on forever in the hands, minds and hard drives of porn consumers, predators and traffickers worldwide," continued Hughes.

Over the past four years, EIE has met numerous times with senior officials at The White House and DOJ calling for a comprehensive holistic strategy to end the sexual exploitation of children, which is dependent on the aggressive enforcement of federal obscenity laws, as promised by President Trump when he signed EIE's Presidential Pledge. The onslaught of obscene pornography online escalated after DOJ's Obscenity Prosecution Task Force, originally set up to combat adult obscenity, was shut down by Attorney General Eric Holder in 2011. Since then, obscenity laws have gone unenforced.

"Failure to prosecute Pornhub on federal obscenity violations would send a loud, clear message to MindGeek and other pornographers that DOJ will continue to turn a blind eye and allow prosecutable obscene pornography to run rampant online," concluded Hughes.

EIE asks concerned citizens to sign the petition.

#ShutDownPornhub #ProsecuteMindGeek