Originally Published at National Catholic Register
By Lauretta Brown
While many Americans are coping with the fear and uncertainty of the global coronavirus pandemic, the pornography industry has responded by providing free access to content — an offer that has drawn harsh criticism from leaders of the fight against sexual exploitation.
Global porn consumption rates have gone up significantly with most people confined to their homes. While the Church teaches that pornography is a “grave offense” that “does grave injury to the dignity of its participants,” experts are also cautioning that porn consumption could exacerbate mental-health issues during the pandemic.
Many have also come forward to highlight the industry’s disturbing links to sex trafficking.
Eleanor Gaetan is the director of government relations at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), a nonpartisan nonprofit that was co-founded by Jesuit Father Morton Hill and other faith leaders in 1962 to combat all forms of sexual exploitation, including pornography.
Regarding the offer of free premium content by Pornhub, the leading online purveyor of pornography, Gaetan told the Register that the website has a “long history of pretending to be a helpful community actor.” However, she said it is offering “a demonic deal” because the website “is featuring videos of child sexual-abuse material” and is also “a place where videos of sex-trafficking victims can be found.”
Gaetan referenced a recent case in which Florida authorities found a 15-year-old girl who had been missing for nearly a year after images of her appeared on Pornhub and similar websites. “Pornhub is a bad actor, and what is it doing when it’s offering premium service?” she said. “It’s trying to lure people into temptation; it’s trying to lure people into what is effectively an addiction.”