Pornhub Offering “Premium Content” to People in Quarantine is Exploitative, Not Philanthropic

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Pornhub, one of the most-visited websites for online pornography in the world, offered free access to its paid premium content to those quarantined in Italy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not long after that, it extended the same offer to people in France and Spain. Since then, rather than continuing to roll out its troubling offer to new locations one at a time, Pornhub decided to make its premium content free to anyone and everyone for a month as of March 24.

In these days of uncertainty and confusion, it seems that many people around the world will experience a COVID-19 quarantine of some kind. But there are some people who can’t escape from sexual exploitation even during social distancing and self-isolation. In fact, as with Pornhub, some organizations and online predators are taking advantage of this time of crisis in order to further exploit vulnerable individuals and promote themes of racism, incest, and extreme violence to the masses.

The “premium” content that Pornhub shills contains hardcore pornography that involves extreme violence against women, themes of incest, child abuse, teenage-themed videos, and racism (among other things). People would be remiss to accept Pornhub’s degrading offer, especially given how Pornhub continues to propagate and profit from sexual abuse and exploitation on a daily basis.

In early 2020, the #TraffickingHub movement, spearheaded by Laila Mickelwait of Exodus Cry, called for Mindgeek (Pornhub’s parent company) to stop profiting from the violence and degradation of men, women, and children on the site and she pointed to a number of trafficking victims scattered throughout Pornhub’s millions of videos as still further evidence of Pornhub’s exploitative business model.

In a previous article, we outlined more details about Pornhub’s troubling track record:

“In some cases, Pornhub has brazenly ignored requests to have abusive content removed for months and openly defended incestuous rape-themed content and profited off of the violent torture of women.

Worse yet, evidence continues to emerge that Pornhub’s careless, profit-hungry business model has led to child sexual abuse material and content featuring the rape of trafficking victims flourishing on its site. In early 2020, the BBC shared the harrowing story of a rape survivor and Pornhub’s repeated refusal to remove content featuring adult men violently raping her when she was just 14-year-old. Another time, Pornhub refused to remove material by a pornography company, GirlsDoPorn, that was a featured partner on its website even as GirlsDoPorn was facing charges of fraud, coercion, and sex trafficking in court.”

Research is clear that mainstream pornography, with common themes of incest, racism, and violence against women, is linked to offline sexual violence as well as other sexual harms. Additionally, Pornhub requires no legitimate forms of age-verification from users who are uploading content which means more trafficking victims and children are able to be exploited.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation calls on all those who have been offered free “premium content” from Pornhub to reject this company that brazenly facilitates and profits from sexual exploitation.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the lives of people across the world, society cannot afford to further the abuse and exploitation of vulnerable people who are already marginalized and disenfranchised by the global supply chain of sexual exploitation.

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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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