- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Sen. Ben Sasse Tuesday demanded Attorney General William P. Barr investigate adult video giant Pornhub for allegedly facilitating human trafficking.

“In several notable incidents over the past year, Pornhub made content available worldwide showing women and girls that were victims of trafficking being raped and exploited,” the Nebraska Republican wrote in a letter to Mr. Barr.

“Pornhub must not escape scrutiny. I therefore, request the department open an investigation into Pornhub and its parent entity MindGeek Holding SARL for their involvement in this disturbing pipeline of exploiting children and other victims and survivors of sex trafficking,” the letter continued.

A spokesman for Pornhub said the company uses a variety of technologies to find and remove known images of child exploitation going beyond the Justice Department’s voluntary standards to counter online child exploitation.

“Pornhub has a steadfast commitment to eradicating and fighting any and all illegal content on the internet, including non-consensual and under-age material,” the company said in a statement. “Any suggestion otherwise is categorically and factually inaccurate.”

Pornhub has come under fire in recent days after anti-trafficking activist Laila Mickelwait launched a petition to shut down the website and hold its executives accountable. As of Tuesday morning, the petition had more than 424,000 signatures.

The petition details incidents of trafficked children appearing on PornHub, including a 15-year-old girl who had been missing for a year until her mom was told 58 videos of her were posted on the website. Her trafficker is now facing a felony charge, according to the petition.

Mr. Sasse said the Justice Department has already charged four traffickers who used “deceptive and coercive” means to force women to make pornography that was later uploaded to Pornhub.

“These publicized cases clearly represent just the tip of the iceberg of women and children being exploited in videos on Pornhub,” he wrote.

Pornhub is ranked the 34th most visited website in the United States, with more than 42 billion visits in 2019, according to company statistics. That represents an average of nearly 115 million visits per day.

More than 6.83 million new videos were uploaded to Pornhub in 2019, according to data from its parent company, MindGeek.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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