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March 10, 2020

The Hill: GOP senator calls for DOJ investigation into Pornhub over videos of sex trafficking victims

Originally Published at The Hill

By Emily Birnbaum

[Senator] Sasse’s letter comes just days after Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced a controversial, highly anticipated bill aimed at holding tech companies like Facebook and Google accountable for images and videos of child sexual exploitation on their platforms. Several Republicans on the committee declined to sign on to the bill, citing concerns around the Fourth Amendment and government overreach.

Sasse is taking a narrower approach to the volatile issue, claiming pornography websites like Pornhub should face repercussions for perpetrating the sexual exploitation online.

“Pornhub’s incredible reach has a much darker side than the image of harmless fun that it tries to project,” he wrote. “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.”

His perspective echoes comments from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, which said in a recent statement that Graham’s legislative efforts to combat child sexual exploitation “will fall short unless the major adult obscenity websites accessed by millions across the globe are prosecuted.”

“Some mainstream pornography websites have been caught mixing child sexual abuse videos (i.e. underage pornography) with adult material and can thus be charged with child pornography offenses,” said National Center on Sexual Exploitation President and CEO Patrick A. Trueman in a statement.

“The federal government ought to enforce adult obscenity laws, which have been repeatedly upheld by the Supreme Court, if they are ever going to decrease the demand for child sexual abuse material,” Trueman said.

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