Sexual abuse victims urge Canada to investigate Pornhub
A sad young woman (Shutterstock)

More than 100 victims of sexual exploitation, backed by 525 non-profit organizations, have asked Canadian authorities to criminally investigate the owner of Pornhub for facilitating and profiting from sexual abuses.

In a letter sent to the government's Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics last week they accuse Montreal-based MindGeek of violating child protection laws and distributing intimate images without consent.

"The Canadian government must urge law enforcement agencies to investigate MindGeek," they said in the letter.

The 104 victims and NGOs from 65 countries also called on Ottawa "to take immediate legislative and regulatory action to protect children from this predatory and unethical corporation."

"Anything less than full legal accountability," they said, "is an injustice to victims whose lives have been damaged as a result of MindGeek's knowing and wilful actions."

The company, which hosts more than 160 pornography websites including Pornhub, has come under fire in recent months over accusations it distributes exploitive videos and has failed to screen its content, effectively turning a blind eye to child abuse, rape and revenge porn.

The controversy followed the publication of a New York Times article claiming that of the 6.8 million new videos posted each year on Pornhub, "many" depicted "child abuse and nonconsensual violence," including scenes of incest and women being asphyxiated in plastic bags.

MindGeek has denied any wrongdoing, defending its safeguards to detect and remove illegal content in testimony before the parliamentary ethics committee last month.

The committee held hearings into the matter as the government prepares legislation to force online platforms to remove illegal content.

Based in Canada, but registered in Luxembourg, Pornhub had 42 billion visits last year.

After Visa and Mastercard announced they would no longer process payments to Pornhub, the site scrambled to respond with new measures against content uploaded by people who had not been verified.

© 2021 AFP