The Children of Pornhub

This article contains descriptions of sexual assault.


Pornhub prides itself on being the cheery, winking face of naughty, the website that buys a billboard in Times Square and provides snow plows to clear Boston streets. It donates to organizations fighting for racial equality and offers steamy content free to get people through Covid-19 shutdowns.


That supposedly “wholesome Pornhub” attracts 3.5 billion visits a month, more than Netflix, Yahoo or Amazon. Pornhub rakes in money from almost three billion ad impressions a day. One ranking lists Pornhub as the 10th-most-visited website in the world.


Yet there’s another side of the company: Its site is infested with rape videos. It monetizes child rapes, revenge pornography, spy cam videos of women showering, racist and misogynist content, and footage of women being asphyxiated in plastic bags. A search for “girls under18” (no space) or “14yo” leads in each case to more than 100,000 videos. Most aren’t of children being assaulted, but too many are.

然而,这家公司也有另一面:它的网站上充斥着强奸视频。它将强奸儿童、复仇式色情、偷拍女性洗澡、种族主义和厌女内容、以及妇女被困在塑料袋里窒息的片段当作盈利手段。每次搜索“girls under18”(女孩 不满18)或者“14yo”(14岁)都能得到超过10万条视频结果。大多数内容并非性侵儿童,但仍然有太多的确是。

After a 15-year-old girl went missing in Florida, her mother found her on Pornhub — in 58 sex videos. Sexual assaults on a 14-year-old California girl were posted on Pornhub and were reported to the authorities not by the company but by a classmate who saw the videos. In each case, offenders were arrested for the assaults, but Pornhub escaped responsibility for sharing the videos and profiting from them.


Pornhub is like YouTube in that it allows members of the public to post their own videos. A great majority of the 6.8 million new videos posted on the site each year probably involve consenting adults, but many depict child abuse and nonconsensual violence. Because it’s impossible to be sure whether a youth in a video is 14 or 18, neither Pornhub nor anyone else has a clear idea of how much content is illegal.


Unlike YouTube, Pornhub allows these videos to be downloaded directly from its website. So even if a rape video is removed at the request of the authorities, it may already be too late: The video lives on as it is shared with others or uploaded again and again.


“Pornhub became my trafficker,” a woman named Cali told me. She says she was adopted in the United States from China and then trafficked by her adoptive family and forced to appear in pornographic videos beginning when she was 9. Some videos of her being abused ended up on Pornhub and regularly reappear there, she said.


“I’m still getting sold, even though I’m five years out of that life,” Cali said. Now 23, she is studying in a university and hoping to become a lawyer — but those old videos hang over her.


“I may never be able to get away from this,” she said. “I may be 40 with eight kids, and people are still masturbating to my photos.”


“You type ‘Young Asian’ and you can probably find me,” she added.

“你输入‘Young Asian’(年轻亚洲人),可能就会找到我,”她补充道。

Actually, maybe not. Pornhub recently was offering 26,000 videos in response to that search. That doesn’t count videos that show up under “related searches” that Pornhub suggests, including “young tiny teen,” “extra small petite teen,” “tiny Asian teen” or just “young girl.” Nor does it necessarily count videos on a Pornhub channel called “exploited teen Asia.”

实际上,可能找不到。最近,Pornhub为这一词条搜索提供了2.6万条视频结果。但这不包括Pornhub提供的“相关搜索”建议下出现的视频,包括“young tiny teen”(娇小青少年)、“extra small petite teen”(特别娇小的青少年)、“tiny Asian teen”(娇小亚洲青少年),或直接是“young girl”(小女孩)。它也不一定将那个名为“欺辱亚洲青少年”的Pornhub频道里的视频算进去。

The issue is not pornography but rape. Let’s agree that promoting assaults on children or on anyone without consent is unconscionable. The problem with Bill Cosby or Harvey Weinstein or Jeffrey Epstein was not the sex but the lack of consent — and so it is with Pornhub.

这里的问题不在色情,而在强奸。我们都认同一件事,即未经同意对儿童或任何人的侵犯行为进行推广是不对的。比尔·考斯比(Bill Cosby)或哈维·韦恩斯坦(Harvey Weinstein)或杰弗里·爱泼斯坦(Jeffrey Epstein)的问题不在于性行为,而在于没有得到同意——Pornhub也是如此。

I came across many videos on Pornhub that were recordings of assaults on unconscious women and girls. The rapists would open the eyelids of the victims and touch their eyeballs to show that they were nonresponsive.


Pornhub profited this fall from a video of a naked woman being tortured by a gang of men in China. It is monetizing video compilations with titles like “Screaming Teen,” “Degraded Teen” and “Extreme Choking.” Look at a choking video and it may suggest also searching for “She Can’t Breathe.”


It should be possible to be sex positive and Pornhub negative.


Pornhub declined to make executives available on the record, but it provided a statement. “Pornhub is unequivocally committed to combating child sexual abuse material, and has instituted a comprehensive, industry-leading trust and safety policy to identify and eradicate illegal material from our community,” it said. Pornhub added that any assertion that the company allows child videos on the site “is irresponsible and flagrantly untrue.”




At 14, Serena K. Fleites was an A student in Bakersfield, Calif., who had never made out with a boy. But in the eighth grade she developed a crush on a boy a year older, and he asked her to take a naked video of herself. She sent it to him, and this changed her life.

14岁那年,塞琳娜·K·弗莱特斯(Serena K. Fleites)还是加州贝克斯菲尔德市的优等生,从来都没与男生亲热过。但在八年级时,她迷上了一个大她一岁的男生,他让她拍了一段裸露视频。她把视频发给了他,这改变了她的一生。

He asked for another, then another; she was nervous but flattered. “That’s when I started getting strange looks in school,” she remembered. He had shared the videos with other boys, and someone posted them on Pornhub.


Fleites’s world imploded. It’s tough enough to be 14 without having your classmates entertain themselves by looking at you naked, and then mocking you as a slut. “People were texting me, if I didn’t send them a video, they were going to send them to my mom,” she said.


The boy was suspended, but Fleites began skipping class because she couldn’t bear the shame. Her mother persuaded Pornhub to remove the videos, and Fleites switched schools. But rumors reached the new school, and soon the videos were uploaded again to Pornhub and other websites.


Fleites quarreled with her mother and began cutting herself. Then one day she went to the medicine cabinet and took every antidepressant pill she could find.


Three days later, she woke up in the hospital, frustrated to be still alive. Next she hanged herself in the bathroom; her little sister found her, and medics revived her.


As Fleites spiraled downward, a friend introduced her to meth and opioids, and she became addicted to both. She dropped out of school and became homeless.


At 16, she advertised on Craigslist and began selling naked photos and videos of herself. It was a way to make a bit of money, and maybe also a way to punish herself. She thought, “I’m not worth anything any more because everybody has already seen my body,” she told me.


Those videos also ended up on Pornhub. Fleites would ask that they be removed. They usually would be, she says — but then would be uploaded again. One naked video of her at 14 had 400,000 views, she says, leaving her afraid to apply for fast-food jobs for fear that someone would recognize her.


So today Fleites, 19, off drugs for a year but unemployed and traumatized, is living in her car in Bakersfield, along with three dogs that have proved more loyal and loving than the human species. She dreams of becoming a vet technician but isn’t sure how to get there. “It’s kind of hard to go to school when you’re living in a car with dogs,” she said.


“I was dumb,” she acknowledged, noting that she had never imagined that the videos could be shared online. “It was one small thing that a teenager does, and it’s crazy how it turns into something so much bigger.


“A whole life can be changed because of one little mistake.”




The problem goes far beyond one company. Indeed, a rival of Pornhub, XVideos, which arguably has even fewer scruples, may attract more visitors. Depictions of child abuse also appear on mainstream sites like Twitter, Reddit and Facebook. And Google supports the business models of companies that thrive on child molestation.


Google returns 920 million videos on a search for “young porn.” Top hits include a video of a naked “very young teen” engaging in sex acts on XVideo along with a video on Pornhub whose title is unprintable here.

在谷歌搜索“young porn”(青少年色情)会得到9.2亿条视频结果。最热门的结果包括XVideo上一个“年纪非常小的青少年”赤裸参与性行为的视频,以及Pornhub上一个标题不宜刊印的视频。

I asked the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to compile the number of images, videos and other content related to child sexual exploitation reported to it each year. In 2015, it received reports of 6.5 million videos or other files; in 2017, 20.6 million; and in 2019, 69.2 million.

我要求全美失踪和受虐儿童中心(National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)统计每年向其报告的与儿童性剥削有关的图片、视频和其他内容的数量。2015年,他们共收到650万份视频或其他文件的报告;2017年为2060万;2019年,6920万。

Facebook removed 12.4 million images related to child exploitation in a three-month period this year. Twitter closed 264,000 accounts in six months last year for engaging in sexual exploitation of children. By contrast, Pornhub notes that the Internet Watch Foundation, an England-based nonprofit that combats child sexual abuse imagery, reported only 118 instances of child sexual abuse imagery on its site over almost three years, seemingly a negligible figure. “Eliminating illegal content is an ongoing battle for every modern content platform, and we are committed to remaining at the forefront,” Pornhub said in its statement.

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