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Cross-party support emerges in Parliament against sexual exploitation by PornHub

On December 4, the New York Times published an major exposé over exploitation on PornHub (one of the Internet's largest pornographic sites), posing the following question: "Why does Canada host a company that inflicts rape and child abuse videos on the world?" Soon after, major credit card companies terminated their affiliations with the site, including Mastercard and Visa. By December 11th, Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith put forward a motion at the Standing Committee of Ethics to bring in the CEOs of the Montréal-based MindGeek (the owner of PornHub) to testify.

As victims of child sexual exploitation and sex trafficking have started revealing their exploitation on Pornhub and the challenges they have faced in having content removed, the co-chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to End Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking have issued a statement to the survivors of exploitation on PornHub and similar sites. The APPG has stated "that anyone who may have been a victim to this horrific form of exploitation [will have] access to the help they need to restore and rebuild their lives. The Canadian government has since announced it would be introducing legislation to require companies to remove illegal content from their websites.

The APPG consists of members and Senators from across the aisle. “The women and children who have videos of their child exploitation, rape and assault uploaded to online sites, have faced a virtually impossible task trying to stand up to these exploitive online empires. The voices of survivors must no longer go unheeded, the actions of

MindGeek must no longer go unchecked," noted Arnold Viersen, a Conservative MP from Northern Alberta. “This reprehensible behavior by a large Canadian company has destroyed the lives of many women and children for the sole purpose of profit. The full force of the law must be applied and any deficiencies in the law rectified,” noted John McKay (Liberal MP, Scarborough—Guildwood). “As the Bloc Québécois critic for the status of women, I tabled a motion last Thursday at the Standing Committee on the Status of Women to denounce the disturbing problems related to the Pornhub website. This motion denounces the cases of exploitation, sexual violence suffered by women and the forms of child pornography that are viewed and exchanged with impunity. The pandemic has multiplied the number of hours spent on the Internet and we need to be concerned about what is going on," stated Andréanne Larouche.

The APPG co-chairs have urged survivors to seek potential legal assistance through

either Defend Dignity, a non-profit that works on behalf of survivors of sexual

exploitation across Canada, or La Sortie, a help and support center for

victims of sexual exploitation in Quebec.

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