Visa Suspends Service on Pornhub But ‘Must Do More,’ Says Anti-Sexual Exploitation Group

By Lucy Collins | August 9, 2022 | 11:21am EDT
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

(CNS News) -- A judge’s ruling against financial services company Visa in a child pornography case involving Pornhub’s distribution of a sexually explicit video of a 13-year-old girl, has led Visa and Mastercard to suspend their advertising involvement with the porn-website’s parent company MindGeek.

On July 29, a judge at the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, issued a decision in an ongoing trial involving Pornhub and other similar websites operated by parent company MindGeek. The suit concerns a woman suing MindGeek and Visa for allegedly distributing and advertising child pornography, specifically a sexually explicit video of her taken when she was 13 years old.

In a pre-trial motion, the California judge dismissed Visa’s motion for dismissal, saying that Visa could be considered complicit in MindGeek’s actions because Visa cards were used for advertising payments on its websites, and thus would be proceeding in the lawsuit.

“Let me be clear: Visa condemns sex trafficking, sexual exploitation, and child sexual abuse. It is illegal, and Visa does not permit the use of our network for illegal activity,” said Visa CEO Alfred Kelly in a statement released on Aug. 4.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“With respect to MindGeek specifically, we suspended sites that contained user-generated content in December 2020, and acceptance on those sites has not been reinstated,” said Kelly. “Despite what you may have read in recent days, you cannot use your Visa card on Pornhub.”

Mastercard and Visa both stopped processing Pornhub payments in late 2020, following a New York Times article showing how the site contained child pornography.

“Its site is infested with rape videos,” according to The Times.  “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.”

Following the judge’s ruling, Visa and Mastercard decided to suspend their business with TrafficJunky, MindGeek’s advertising arm, until further notice.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“During this suspension, Visa cards will not be able to be used to purchase advertising on any sites including Pornhub or other MindGeek affiliated sites,” the Visa CEO announced.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), which works to end all forms of sexual violence and exploitation, including human trafficking and pornography, said that Visa’s withdrawal from just MindGeek is not enough.

“Visa long supported the monetization of child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, rape, and image-based abuse images found on MindGeek-owned pornography websites by continuing to process payments for the company despite being put on notice by NCOSE and others of the abuse,” said NCOSE CEO Dawn Hawkins. “Now, Visa has taken an incremental step, but they must do more.”

“If Visa cares about these issues as much as they say they do, Visa must suspend all payment processing services for XVideos, XHamster, and all pornography tube sites as well as their advertising arms, not only TrafficJunky,” said Hawkins.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

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