Hawley, Lawmakers Introduce Bills Allowing Victims To Sue Pornhub, Perpetrators

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced bills Wednesday that would allow victims to sue websites like Pornhub following a report accusing the site of hosting an infestation of “rape videos.”

The Survivors of Human Trafficking Fight Back Act would allow victims to sue porn websites that have profited off their exploitation, according to a press release from Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley’s office. The bipartisan bill is cosponsored by Republican Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, Democratic New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan, and Republican North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis.

“Sites like Pornhub routinely escape responsibility for facilitating abuse, trafficking, and exploitation, making millions for themselves in the process,” Hawley said in a statement. “Meanwhile, the victims of this abuse have little recourse against these powerful companies, who thrive on spreading depraved content. Serious criminal penalties are needed to crack down on these tech executives who think they are above the law.”

Hawley, Hassan, and Tillis also collaborated on a bipartisan bill aimed at giving victims the opportunity to sue perpetrators of “revenge porn,” according to a press release.

“Currently, it is extremely difficult for survivors to remove the harmful imagery from the public sphere permanently,” Hassan said in a statement. “Our bipartisan bill would create a legal pathway in federal court for victims to obtain just compensation from the person who shared their images without their consent, and to compel the removal of those images.”

Pornhub announced changes to their website’s safety measures Tuesday afternoon, saying that the website had “banned downloads” and “made some key expansions to [their] moderation process.” (RELATED: Sasse Demands Full Investigation After Pornhub Rapidly Changes Policies Over Allegations Of Child Sexual Exploitation)

The changes came after Pulitzer prize-winning opinion columnist Nicholas Kristof accused Pornhub of monetizing “child rapes, revenge pornography, spy cam videos of women showering, racist and misogynist content, and footage of women being asphyxiated in plastic bags,” in a Friday New York Times op-ed.

The popular pornography website has been listed as the 10th-most-visited website in the world, with 3.5 billion visits a month and profits from almost three billion ad impressions every day, according to Kristof.

Kristof’s story sparked backlash against Pornhub, prompting lawmakers like Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse to call for investigations into the pornography website. Major credit card companies also began reviewing their relationship with Pornhub.

Pornhub did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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