Protest planned in front of Pornhub HQ in Montreal on International Women's Day

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A demonstration is being planned for Sunday, International Women's Day, in front of the Montreal headquarters for Mindgeek, the company that owns Pornhub.

Demonstrators are accusing online porn company Pornhub of "profiting off the sex trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and children."

Pornhub pulled videos from the 'Girls Do Porn' content creators in October 2019 after the owner and employees were charged with sex trafficking crimes.

In November 2019, a 28-year-old man was sentenced to 18 months in jail after he pleaded guilty to distributing intimate images of his ex-lover, along with three other victims, without their consent on websites including Pornhub. One of the images was viewed more than 1.5 million times

Last month, a woman shared her story with the BBC, alleging videos of her being raped at 14 years old ended up on Pornhub. One had over 400,000 views. The woman told the BBC she emailed PornHub several times over a period of six months asking for their removal and telling them she was a minor before sending another email posing as a lawyer. Only then were the videos removed.

A petition to have Pornhub shut down has garnered more than 370,000 signatures.

According to the petition, the website "has no system in place to verify reliably the age or consent of those featured in the pornographic content it hosts and profits from."

Pornhub said the petition is "factually wrong and intentionally misleading" and was created and promoted by a "radical rightwing fundamentalist group in the United States" whose founders "have long vilified and attacked LGBTQ communities and women’s rights groups, aligned themselves with hate groups, and espoused extremist and despicable language.”

The petition was established by Laila Mickelwait, the director of abolition at Exodus Cry.

Exodus Cry denies those claims, saying in a statement of inclusion that they "do not discriminate based on sex, race, class, political views, religious or non-religious views, or sexual orientations."

In a statement, Pornhub vice president Blake White said the website "has a steadfast commitment to eradicating and fighting any and all illegal content on the internet, including non-consensual content and child sexual abuse material. Any suggestion otherwise is categorically and factually inaccurate."

He added that Pornhub is "actively working to put in place state-of-the-art, comprehensive safeguards on its platform to combat this material," including a "robust system" for flagging and removing illegal material, an extensive team of human moderators and a variety of "digital fingerprinting solutions."

Senator Julie Miville-Dechêne is expected to attend the protest. She is a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group to End Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking and member of the Canadian Association of Feminist Parliamentarians.

"It is shameful that Pornhub has posted sexual videos involving underage girls. Pornhub should take all necessary measures to verify that children and women are not trafficked or sexually exploited before posting porn videos," said Miville-Dechêne in a statement.

"The campaign to shut down Pornhub has gained the support of over 75 child protection, women's rights and anti-trafficking organizations as well as the backing of experts on and survivors of commercial sexual exploitation," according to the news release on the protest.

White said Pornhub "will continue to work with law enforcement efforts and child protection non-profits in the goal of eliminating any and all illegal content across the internet."

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