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Why 40 Women are Suing Pornhub: All You Need to Know about Sex Trafficking Videos on the Site

Pornhub is under the scanner for alleged child abuse and monetizsation of violence against women | Image credit: Reuters

Pornhub is under the scanner for alleged child abuse and monetizsation of violence against women | Image credit: Reuters

40 women,all victims of sex trafficking, are suing Pornhub after it for years ignored their complaints and pleas seeking removal of their videos from the site.

Days after reports of child sexual abuse and rape videos surfaced against Pornhub, it seems the slew of allegations against the popular pornographic website is far from being over. As many as 40 women are suing the Canadian company for allegedly earning profits from a sex trafficking operation that they were victims of.

According to reports, Pornhub's parent company MindGeek was slapped with a $40 million lawsuit by 40 women who sewing Pornhub for are victims of sex trafficking operations conducted by one of Pornhub's partner content companies, 'Girls Do Porn'.

Pornhub has been accused of ignoring multiple pleas for removal of content from victims of the sex trafficking racket being run by 'Girls Do Porn', which was shut down in 2019 after the FBI launched an investigation following accusations of dishonest, abusive or coercive methods to obtain content from victims.

The victims allege Pornhub had for years carried on business with 'Girls Do Porn' despite being well aware of their illegal dealings. The Court complaint lodged by the 40 plaintiffs alleges that Pornhub had allegedly ignored complaints and pleas for recourse and action against its partner company 'Girls Do Porn' which has been accused of using "fraud, coercion, and intimidation" to obtain content from the victims.

The lawsuit comes days after credit card giants Visa and Mastercard decided to ban Pornhub from the list of platforms that it allows its users to transact in, meaning Visa and Mastercard users would not be permitted to make payments using the cards to pay for account subscription.

The lawsuit

In the complaint, the 40 victims alleged that Pornhub's parent company MindGeek knew about 'Girls Do Porn's' illegal dealings as far back as 2009 when it started and "definitely by fall 2016" multiple victims brought forth allegations of using dishonest means or being tricked into filming porn videos under false pretexts and then streaming them on Pornhub.

And yet for years, the pornography conglomerate that provides paid adult content across multiple international countries did nothing about it and continued to host the 'content creator's videos even after multiple victims brought forth allegations of abuse against the company in 2016. Several of the plaintiffs attested to the way PornHub ignored their desperate pleas even after the women started speaking to the media about their allegations in 2019. The lawsuit alleges that despite "mounting evidence" of sex trafficking against its business partner, MindGeek refused to investigate the complaints or help the victims.

The lie

The plaintiffs allege that they were specifically told that the videos would not be posted on the Internet, meaning Pornhub, without their consent. And that's exactly where they ended up. Despite repeated written communication and email attempts to request, even beg Pornhub to remove the videos, the women alleged that the platform continued to host the videos.

Many of the plaintiffs claim they were told the video was meant for a DVD to be sold in foreign countries and not for uploading on the internet. When the video made its way to the internet via Pornhub, which until recently allowed videos to be anonymously downloaded from its platform. All the victims claim that the incident had caused them severe mental, physical, and financial stress and made them vulnerable to abuse and harassment from family, friends, and colleagues.

The damage

Many of the victims who complained were told that their videos will be removed from the platform. Several such videos, including one featuring one of the plaintiffs - who was also tricked into filming the video on the pretext of it being a DVD for foreign markets. The video continues to appear on the site despite Pornhub claiming to remove 'Girls Do Porn's' content from the website after they were charged by the US Justice Department. The enraged women are now demanding $1 million each in damages from Pornhub.

The timing

The $40 million lawsuit comes in the backdrop of MindGeek facing losses amid the censure from Visa and Mastercard, rendering its users unable to pay for their Pornhub accounts. The credit card giants began investigating their business relationship with Pornhub after a prominent columnist New York Times journalist as well as a report by BBC shed light on how the porn website was getting away with violations of standards against minor rape and non-consensual sex. Pornhub has frequently been accused of turning a blind eye to illegally obtained content and profiting from the videos.

While the FBI started investigating 'Girls Do Porn' in August last year, Pornhub continued to host the page's content well into October. By the time they announced breaking ties with 'Girls do Porn', there was no company to fire as American law enforcement had already shut them down.