Dozens of Women Sue Pornhub, Alleging Trafficking, Child Porn, Rape and More

Thirty-four women have filed a lawsuit against online pornography giant Pornhub, alleging that the company profits from rape, child pornography, sex trafficking and other depictions of nonconsensual activity. The lawsuit alleges the company is aware that much of its video content violates U.S. law against nonconsensual sexual content and not only chose to leave it up, but also monetized it and incentivized viewers to watch it.

“The case is not about consensual porn or negligence,” Michael Bowe, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told the Washington Post. “It’s about a porn company’s intentional election to include in their business model rape and other nonconsensual content.”

Pornhub and its parent company MindGeek denied the claims in a statement to NBC News, saying “The allegations in today’s complaint that Pornhub is a criminal enterprise that traffics women and is run like The Sopranos are utterly absurd, completely reckless and categorically false.” Pornhub says that its website utilizes “the most comprehensive safeguards in user-generated platform history.”

Thirty-three of the plaintiffs have chosen to remain anonymous. Only Serena Fleites, who says she was trafficked by Pornhub, listed her name in the lawsuit. Fleites was one of the key figures in last year’s devastating New York Times exposé on the women whose lives have been ruined by Pornhub. She was just 13 years old when nude images of her were first posted to the website. Following the NYT piece, Visa and Mastercard both severed ties with Pornhub, though Visa still allows payments to MindGeek. Pornhub was in full damage control, removing millions of videos from its site and adding stricter rules around who can upload content.

The lawsuit also alleges that MindGeek purchased nonconsensual sexual content in bulk from human traffickers, which it then ran through a series of shell companies, laundering the profits and hiding its identity.

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“It is time for the companies and individuals who have profited off of nonconsensual and illegal content be held liable for their crime,” one of the anonymous plaintiffs said, according to CNN. “I joined the lawsuit because I seek justice for myself and the countless victims who don’t come forward.”

You can read the full lawsuit here.

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