Woman whose life was scarred by child porn video testifies about Pornhub at committee

·2 min read

OTTAWA — A young woman whose life was shattered by a video of her posted to Pornhub while she was still in middle school says the trauma of child pornography is unending, and that stricter rules are needed.

Serena Fleites told the House of Commons ethics committee Monday that she fell into a spiral of depression, drug use and self-harm after relenting to her boyfriend's demands she send him a naked video of herself in Grade 7 that ended up on Pornhub, material that has proven impossible to scrub from the internet.

Fleites says Pornhub took more than a week to respond to her request to take down the video, and weeks more to actually remove it, only to allow it to surface again days later, a traumatic process that played out repeatedly.

Fleites's lawyer Michael Bowe says she is one of many women who have had exploitive material of them as underage children posted to the streaming giant, or who were sexually assaulted or trafficked with accompanying pornographic videos, which Pornhub's parent company MindGeek denies.

The testimonies come as parliamentarians weigh concerns around privacy and pornography sites.

Fleites' words, which drew tears from several MPs, follow a class-action case launched in Quebec by an Ontario resident that alleges MindGeek has profited off of child sexual abuse material and non-consensual content since 2007.

Pornhub says it has removed all content uploaded by non-verified users after the adult website faced accusations it hosted illegal content.

The move came after Visa and MasterCard launched investigations and decided in December to stop allowing their cards to be used on Pornhub.

A New York Times investigation published that month says the website hosted videos of child sexual assaults and exploitations.

MindGeek and Pornhub did not immediately respond to questions Monday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 1, 2021.

The Canadian Press