The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) filed a lawsuit in July 2021 on behalf of multiple defendants who had images or videos of their sexual trauma or abuse distributed by Pornhub's parent company.
Specifically, Aylo, formerly known as MindGeek, was accused of knowingly hosting videos that depicted sexual abuse and of engaging in unlawful monetary transactions. The website shut down following the Department of Justice's (DOJ) investigation.
But earlier this month, Aylo shared in a statement that it had reached a deferred prosecution agreement after the DOJ decided that the company and its affiliates had not violated any federal laws related to sex trafficking or the sexual exploitation of minors.
NCOSE's Marcel van der Watt says the executives have essentially received a slap on the wrist.
"If ever a case with absolute urgency and uncompromising approach to investigations and prosecutions are needed, it is with children," he submits.
In his opinion, the DOJ's investigation ignored the "acute vulnerabilities" of the raped and trafficked victims and fell short. He says federal officials need to keep a watch on the industry.
"A large and a very comprehensive investigation into this is needed," van der Watt asserts. "We need accountability; we need transparency and not translucency. All the cards need to be placed on the table, and I think the world needs to know what is happening on these pornography sites."
The deferred prosecution deal means the charges against Pornhub will be wiped off the books after a certain period of time.