2022: A Year Pornographers and Traffickers Would Like to Forget

As we enter the last month of the calendar year, for many this becomes a time of reflection on the events of the year past. For the Internet pornography industry and sex traffickers, it will not be a positive reflection. Instead, it will be more of a nightmare, as they see the foundations of their corrupt empires continue to crumble – thanks in great part to the work of the NCOSE Law Center.

Just a few years ago, holding Internet pornography websites accountable under the law for their role in hosting, distributing, and profiting from child sexual abuse material (CSAM), rape, sex trafficking, and sexual abuse images seemed to be an impossible task.

It is impossible no more! The year 2022 has brought us several steps closer to the demise of the Internet pornography industry, a.k.a “Big Porn.” That is a reflection to be truly excited about!

Why Big Porn is in Trouble

In February, the NCOSE Law Center’s class action lawsuit, Doe #1 et al, v. MG Freesites LTD et al, led to a historic first in the nation order and opinion, when the federal court issued a ruling against MindGeek, the owner of Pornhub. The court rejected MindGeek’s claim of immunity from liability under federal law, opening the door for other lawsuits on behalf of children whose images have been trafficked on Internet platforms.

This is just one of more than a dozen lawsuits the NCOSE Law Center is involved in against Big Porn – serving as either lead counsel, co-counsel, or providing behind-the scenes assistance.

Another key lawsuit in which the Law Center serves as co-counsel is Does 1-9 v. Murphy et al, filed by nine coeds against XHamster and MindGeek, after they were secretly filmed while changing in a college locker room before a field hockey game. The footage was then uploaded to and monetized by XHamster and Pornhub in violation of federal anti-trafficking law. The lawsuit seeks to hold both companies legally accountable under this law.

These lawsuits not only target Big Porn’s vulnerabilities but strike right at the heart of their corrupt business models.

Ending Sex Trafficking in the Silver State

Nevada is the only state where sex buying, pimping, and brothel-keeping is legal in certain areas. As a result, sex trafficking and prostitution have exploded there. The Law Center has filed a groundbreaking lawsuit, Williams et.al v. Sisolak et al., to bring that to an end. A major claim in the case is that the defendants, acting as they did and continue to do, create conditions of involuntary servitude and debt bondage for trafficked women that is unique to Nevada and these conditions, and constitutes a violation of the 13th Amendment, which banned both slavery and involuntary servitude. The Law Center is challenging Nevada’s pro-prostitution policies – and sending a message to other states considering such a change!

While the judge dismissed government officials from the case in July, he allowed the case to move ahead against the brothel and strip club. The court then granted our attorneys the right to appeal his ruling in connection with the government officials. This is the first time a federal court in Nevada has allowed a case against a brothel and a strip club based on federal trafficking law to move forward!

Protecting Children from Sexual Exploitation on Twitter

The Law Center’s lawsuit against Twitter, John Doe #1 and John Doe #2 v. Twitter, which sues Twitter for facilitating and profiting from sexual abuse images of two young boys, continues to move forward in the federal courts. It is presently pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Twitter’s appeal. This is the first lawsuit in the nation against Twitter that has not been dismissed on Twitter’s assertion of immunity from liability. We have an opportunity to set a precedent that will open the flood gates against Twitter and other online platforms that traffic children’s images.

Keeping up the Momentum

The Law Center has developed working relationships and collaborations with the best and most aggressive mass tort and class action law firms in the nation to take down Big Porn, take on traffickers, and secure justice for survivors. As a result, as 2022 comes to an end, sexual exploiters are shaking in their boots!

Looking ahead to 2023, the Law Center sees many new opportunities to file additional lawsuits to keep the heat on Big Porn. Teresa J. Helm recently joined the NCOSE team as the new Survivor Services Coordinator. Teresa will assist survivor clients seeking justice through civil litigation against major corporations, such as MindGeek, who have profited from their abuse.

We want to thank those who have provided the fuel to make this progress possible – our supporters. We are excited about, and Big Porn is dreading, what is in store in the years ahead, as we build upon the momentum of 2022!

The Numbers

300+

NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.

100+

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.

93

NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.

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