Politics

Sasse Calls On DOJ To Investigate Pornhub: ‘Pornhub Must Not Escape Scrutiny’

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse called on the Department of Justice to investigate Pornhub on Tuesday.

Sasse wrote to Attorney General Bill Barr in a Monday letter that asks for a federal investigation into Pornhub and Pornhub’s owner, MindGeek, for their alleged involvement in videos of women and children being raped and exploited.

“This is pretty obvious,” Sasse told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Any company that profits from rape, trafficking, and exploitation must be held accountable. The reporting on Pornhub has been gut-wrenching. Pornhub and its parent company MindGeek must not escape scrutiny.”

The Department of Justice must take the first step of opening an investigation, Sasse added.

“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 senator wrote in the Monday letter. (RELATED: Pornhub Strikes Back At Petition To ‘Shut Down Pornhub’ Over Alleged Child Rape Films, Trafficking)

Sasse warned that Pornhub’s “incredible reach has a much darker side than the image of harmless fun that it tries to project,” citing an incident where Florida police arrested a man accused of trafficking a 15-year-old girl for over a year who had been “subjected to horrific abuse,” including rape and forced abortion. Her trafficker had uploaded more than 60 videos of her rapes to websites including Pornhub, Sasse noted.

“Pornhub must not escape scrutiny,” the senator added. “I therefore request that 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.”

News of Sasse’s letter came a day after Pornhub struck back at a petition to “Shut Down Pornhub,” demanding that the pornography platform be held accountable after being accused of allowing sex-trafficking and child rape films as well as failing to verify the age and consent of those depicted in pornography.

Director of abolition for Exodus Cry Laila Mickelwait’s Change.org petition calls for the government to “Shut Down Pornhub and Hold Its Executives Accountable for Aiding Trafficking.” The petition garnered more than 420,000 signatures as of press time.

Mickelwait commended Sasse’s actions in a Tuesday statment to the DCNF.

“In recent weeks there has been an outcry from hundreds of thousands of people around the globe who want to see Pornhub shut down based on evidence that it has been enabling and profiting from the rape and sex trafficking of both women and children,” she said.

“I join with Senator Sasse in calling for action from the attorney general, members of congress and relevant departments and agencies in investigating and holding accountable this company that has been complicit and profiting from mass violence and exploitation of the most vulnerable,” the Exodus Cry director of Abolition added.

Mickelwait noted that the U.S. is one of the largest consumer’s of Pornhub’s content and that the U.S. government has a responsibility to ensure that Pornhub cannot “peddle and profit” from “scenes showing the real pain and suffering of woman and children packaged as masturbation material.”

“Pornhub/Mindgeek, and the executives behind it must be brought to justice for their actions,” she added.

Pornhub responded to Sasse’s letter in a Tuesday evening statement provided to the DCNF.

“Pornhub has a steadfast commitment to eradicating and fighting any and all illegal content on the internet, including non-consensual content and under-age material,” the company said in a statement. “Any suggestion otherwise is categorically and factually inaccurate. Our content moderation goes above and beyond the DOJ’s recently announced Voluntary Principles to Counter Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.”

Pornhub went on to list “state-of-the-art, comprehensive safeguards across its platform” that are intended to “combat and remove all unauthorized content that breaches the platform’s policies.”

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