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Visa And Mastercard Kick Off Financial Blockade Of PornHub In Response To Child Sex Investigation

Visa and Mastercard have announced that they will be abandoning support for the well-known Internet porn site, PornHub.

This move comes after the companies came together earlier this month to issue a warning to PornHub’s parent company, Mindgeek, threatening a financial blockade unless the company took immediate action to clamp down on child porn being hosted on its platform.

PayPal took early action in 2019 in response to concerns about the legal and moral implications of content being hosted on PornHub, with many other payment processors also said to be considering similar action.

On December 7th, Visa and Mastercard announced that they were beginning an investigation into allegations of child pornography being hosted on the PornHub website.

This comes after a report in The New York Times that PornHub was hosting videos featuring “child rapes, revenge pornography, spycam videos of women showering, racist and misogynist content, and footage of women being asphyxiated in plastic bags”, with some videos featuring girls as young as 9 years old. Moreover, PornHub’s parent company was actively generating revenue from the monetisation of these videos.

Today, the companies followed through on their warning and dropped support for the PornHub website, based on Mastercard’s own investigation which “had confirmed there was illegal content on the platform”, and added that several similar websites were also being scrutinised.

Pornhub described the decision as “extremely disappointing” and complained that it would affect the “hundreds of thousands of models who rely on our platform for their livelihoods”, claiming that it has announced plans to prevent images of abuse, non-consensual sex and underage sex from appearing on the website earlier this week.

This comes in the wake of the #TraffickingHub campaign, which seeks to draw awareness to the prevalence of trafficking and sexual abuse on Internet porn websites and has succeeding in garnering support from all over the world, including a 2 million-strong petition for companies providing services to unscrupulous Internet porn sites to take action

PornHub is generating millions in advertising and membership revenue every month, with 42 billion visits and 6 million videos uploaded per year. Yet, there is no system in place to verify the age or consent of those featured in the the content that it uses to generate revenue and no identity checks are in place – even for so-called “verified” users.