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Pornhub responds to petition calling for its closure

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The behemoth porn portal Pornhub is facing calls for its closure after a campaign group claimed that it has failed its duty of care in protecting under-age performers from appearing in content uploaded to the platform.

A Change.org petition which currently has 300,000 signatures, claims that a 15-year-old girl, missing from home for over a year was found after 58 videos of her being raped and abused were found on Pornhub.

The trafficker has since been apprehended after being identified by in-store CCTV footage, along with the victim. The offences took place in 2009.

The group organising the campaign, a religious campaign called Exodus Cry, cites other examples of performers in adult videos on Pornhub that were in fact victims of abuse.

Exodus Cry has claimed that the fact that the victim’s videos were marked as being ‘verified’, thus demonstrating that Pornhub has no control over the content on the site.

Pornhub has made a robust defense in a statement, in which it says:

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“Pornhub has a steadfast commitment to eradicating and fighting any and all illegal content on the internet, including non-consensual content and child sexual abuse material. Any suggestion otherwise is categorically and factually inaccurate.”

It goes on to point to Microsoft’s PhotoDNA and Vobile as examples of the forensic monitoring of uploads which are designed to find, remove and report illegal and inappropriate content.

“We are actively working on expanding our safety measures and adding new features and products to our platform to this end, as they become available. Furthermore, Pornhub will continue to work with law enforcement efforts and child protection non-profits in the goal of eliminating any and all illegal content across the internet.”

The petition page, which describes Exodus Cry as “dedicated to combating sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation worldwide” also looks for funds which its said will be used to bring down “big porn”.

Speaking to Indian Entertainment site MEA, Laila Mickelwait, who holds the (very specific) office of Head of Abolition at Exodus Cry said:

“I am talking about shutting a multi-million dollar company down who is profiting off of the rape, sex trafficking and assault of women and children,” she said. “It is not an extreme point of view to think that the largest and most popular porn website in the world should not be allowed to cash in on the trauma, exploitation, and rape of women and children.”

The organisation says it isn’t anti-porn altogether, and is only interested in outlets that it believes are exploitative.

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