Media release

PSA: Canada’s Ethics Committee hearings on Pornhub: Canada a destination country for online demand for rape, torture, and humiliation of women and girls

Jeanne Sarson and Linda MacDonald

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Ethics News Release stated it “studied how Pornhub failed to protect the privacy and reputation of individuals—many of them, minors.” Chris Warkentin, Chair of the Committee, added that “the allegations against Pornhub are sobering and horrific.” As witness Serena Fleites described how destructively her life was altered when at 14 her non-consensual images were uploaded on Pornhub. Rose Kalemba was also 14, when kidnapped, held for 12 hours, choked, group raped, stabbed, and tortured with the videos of her victimizations uploaded on Pornhub by the perpetrators. The horrors identified as “teen getting destroyed,” “passed out teen,” with “hot tiny teen fucked until she shakes” with 5.8 million views.

This exposes the undeniable truth: There exists a demand by those who have pleasure for watching misogynistic brutality and dehumanization of a young girl. Both Serena and Rose are from the U.S. where the victimizations occurred, which were then uploaded onto Pornhub, a business housed in Canada.

This is what we want to talk about: How the politics of our country, the recommendations of the Ethics Committee, fail to tackle THE DEMAND for the brutalization, dehumanization, rape, and torture of women and girls that is increasingly known to be driving a global sexualization exploitation industry. But first, brief insights gathered from the Canadian Government’s Ethics Committee’s interview with Pornhub / MindGeek executives about their business practices.


Pornhub rents business space in Montreal, employing a staff of 1,000. During the Ethics Committee’s interview with Pornhub’s executives, the Ethics Committee exposed that Pornhub had not followed Canada’s Act on mandatory reporting. This Act requires those who provide public Internet services, who have reasonable grounds that their Internet service is being or has been used to make, distribute, possess, or access “pornographic” crimes against a child under the age of 18 years, have a legal duty to report to police. This legal mandate was reinforced during the Committee’s questioning of RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki. She said that absolutely, “Any citizen, not just employees but any person in Canada, any person anywhere, should be reporting [child sexualized exploitation].”

However, when the RCMP met with MindGeek in 2018, Commissioner Lucki said Pornhub executive told the RCMP that the mandatory reporting Act did not apply to Pornhub because they were not a Canadian company. Instead, Pornhub said, it reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the U.S. Pornhub’s business practice was accepted by the RCMP. Challenging Pornhub’s practice, Ethics Committee members said that the mandated reporting Act of 2011 did legally require Pornhub to report to the Canadian Centre for Child Protection or police, which they never did.

When the RCMP did not require Pornhub to follow the mandatory reporting law this meant there was a failure to address the demand which resulted in women and girls suffered prolonged victimizations.


Working with the London Abused Women’s Centre, we connected with women from many countries who wanted to explain this to Canadians: That when a Canadian pornographic server fails to prohibit the online demand for rape and torture videos and other illegal non-consented content of women and girls this means Canada is hosting a harmful global unchecked criminal industry. An industry that accelerates and normalizes demand for and pornographic exploitation and sexualized human trafficking of vulnerable women and girls abroad and ignores grave human rights violations of women and girls worldwide.

Public Press Conference on June 15, 2021     Ethics Committee Member Charlie Angus, Member of Parliament (MP) for Timmons—James Bay, Ontario, arranged a public Press Conference on June 15, 2021, for the global women’s statements to be heard. Excerpts of what women told Canadians:

Vaishnavi Sundar (India). A 17 year old girl was raped for an entire year because her rapists threatened to “leak” the said video if she didn’t oblige. Her rapist was selling the clips for 50 rupees (less than $1). If the rapes are violent, those videos get sold for a lot higher. On January 2018, Asifa, an 8 year-old girl from Kathua, was brutally gang raped, murdered, and discarded. When the news and her identity were released, “Asifa rape” and “Kathua rape video” became the most searched phrases on porn sites.

Alyssa Ahrabare (France). In 2020, an investigation was opened for rape and pimping against the pornographic platform “Jacquie et Michel”. We supported about a hundred victims of this platform, 75 to 80% suffered sexual violence in childhood. Many are of migrant origin. The videos of their rapes are associated with racist scenes. Videos of gang rapes on pornographic sites are commonplace. Women victims of the pornographic industry are forced to undergo sodomy, double penetration, gang rape, beatings, slapping, suffocation, urine throwing, group facial ejaculation and other violence that leaves them with serious physical and psychotraumatic after-effects. The more violent these rapes are, the more expensive they are. Most victims cannot afford to have them removed.

Rita María Hernández (México). Kenni Mireya Finol was a 26-year-old Venezuelan woman mutilated and murdered by an organized crime group in Mexico. Speaking on behalf of Kenni and 16 other women who are still missing, who were probably connected to the same organized crime group that filmed their assaults and torture, killed them, and sold the videos to pornsites. The Mexican organized criminal group ran the escort website procuring their victims from Venezuela and Colombia. As part of their trafficking debt repayment, women had to permit being photographed by a pimp/pornographer, now in jail for trafficking in persons. Survivors testified that they resisted, cried, and begged not to be sexually humiliated and filmed. They were drugged and coerced into smiling for the camera. The gang threatened to send videos to the women’s children and they threatened to kill the women’s relatives.

Nerea Novo (Spain). In 2016 five men who were described as La Manada or the Wolf Pack raped a young woman. The filmed rape trended on Pornhub, Xvideos, Xhamster, and was the most searched-for on the web the weeks after the men were sentenced. In the four years prior to August 2020, we documented 211 gang rapes in Spain, one of them resulting in death. One in ten of these rapes were transformed into porn, photographed or filmed by the rapists. There is a horrible sameness between gang-perpetrated sexual violence and these super-popular videos, categorized as “gangbang”. This reproduction – is ongoing torture for any woman who is alive after these human rights violations.

Esohe Aghatise (Nigeria/Italy). Young people in Nigeria have access to internet and smartphones. This year a 17-year-old boy raped a 5-year-old girl. Last year 16 teen boys gang raped 8 girls who were younger than 12 years old. A group of high school students in Lagos anally raped their female classmates. In all these cases they were practicing what they learned in pornography like that seen on Pornhub. There are Nigerian trafficking victims in Italy and in other parts of Europe, women raped while under the control of pimps; their rapes filmed then transmitted to porn site like Pornhub/MindGeek. Threats from traffickers that their filmed rapes will be shown to their family and friends – keeps them under the criminals’ violent control. It deepens their trauma and psychological stress. Many women have constant suicidal thoughts.

Gail Dines (USA). It is clear for us that what happens in Canada doesn’t stay in Canada. The massive scale, grave and systematic nature of these crimes against women and girls worldwide; the individual and collective harm, including physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss or substantial impairment of fundamental rights; the planned and sustained will on behalf of the perpetrators of these violations, and the acts and omissions of the Canadian government to prevent, investigate and provide remedies to victims, classifies as gross human rights violations under international human rights law.

The Demand Is: Pornofication of Cruelty, Abuse, Rape, Gang-Rapes, Torture, Humiliation, and Dehumanization of Women and Girls

The Ethics Committee must now know that pornographic crime images are embedded in misogynistic devaluation, objectification, and dehumanization of women and girls. They must also now know that the cruel, abuse, torture, and dehumanizing sexualized victimization of women and girls is “feeding” demand, and if not tackled up-front is shaping a Canadian industry culture of profit-making by pornographic servers. The Committee must undoubtedly realize that an unchecked misogynistic demand is now also destructively shaping Canada’s social and relational culture.

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection spoke to the Ethics Committee. We share the Centre’s Survivors’ Survey wherein those in the research said that their “the lack of control over the ongoing sharing of their abuse and torture victimization images is most difficult to overcome.” This validates not only how Serena, Rose, and others described their victimizations, it also exposes the global demand for pornofication of cruelty, abuse, and torture of women and girls.

The Canadian Centre’s research validates that the perpetrators of pornographic violence use similar tactics against children as used against adults. For example, of the 96 adults who participated in the research, who as children suffered pornographic crimes, 67 percent said they were threatened with physical harm even death, and 64 percent said they were threatened with torture or were tortured including being electric shocked, water tortured when held under water, and choked. As children 24 percent said they were told their families would be harmed.

While we support the Ethics Committee work, our view is there is a dire failure to specifically confront in the recommendations the online social construction of misogyny, cruelty, abuse, torture, and discrimination perpetrated specifically against women and girls as a social group.

There is a failure to clearly name and address pornofication of cruelty, abuse, rape, gang-rapes, torture, humiliation, and dehumanization of women and girls demand in these ways:  

The Ethics Committee recommendation 1 concerning liability and the “duty to care” needed to address misogyny and the evidence of demand as a hate crime when pornofication videos of cruelty, abuse, torture, humiliation, and dehumanization of women and girls are uploaded on websites such as Pornhub. This demand involves misogynistic discrimination of women and the girl child as a specific social group and needs to be named a hate crime. Canada has an international human rights legal obligation to prevent female-sex discrimination.

The Ethics Committee recommendation 4 is that the National Child Exploitation Crime Centre (NCECC) of the RCMP be the enforcement agency that persons or others who provide an Internet service report Internet pornographic child crimes to. Increasing the effectiveness of protection requires Canadian transformations in the belief systems embedded in policing systems, including that the RCMP transforms the misogyny of their culture if this online demand of the pornofication of cruelty, abuse, rape, gang-rapes, torture, humiliation, and dehumanization demand is justly confronted and women and girls protected.

Recommendation 12 of the Ethics Committee on “potential new patterns of sexual violence” needed to recommend naming and criminalizing online demand of the pornofication of torture victimizations. That women and girls are being tortured was disclosed to the Ethics Committee by Rose, by Megan Walker of the London Abused Women’s Centre, in our submission, “Eliminate Demand, It Drives “Pornographic” Victimization and Corruption: A Brief,” and in the statements of the global women shared during the public Press Conference on June 15. Torture is globally considered a distinct human rights violation that must never be permitted to occur by Canada or any country in any circumstance. United Nations Special Rapporteur Nils Melzer wrote that countries are required to prevent, investigate, prosecute, and punish acts of torture and cruelty such as rape and torture. The pornofication of torture victimization, by definition includes mental and physical severe pain and suffering, is concerning and is included in these submitted briefs of the:

Global Activists Against Violations by Pornhub carried 581 signatures, 123 Survivors, from 26 countries;

Global South & Migrant Women Brief;

National Center on Sexual Exploitation;

Melissa Farley and Meghan Donevan;

Canadian Centre for Child Protection;

Culture Reframed Solving the Public Health Crisis of the Digital Age

Connecting to Protect


CONCERNED, we should all be! As Rose voiced, “Our rapists and our traffickers are counting on you looking away, so please don’t ever forget about us.”

TODAY: If you have concerns that a child is being harmed or is in immediate danger contact the Canadian Centre for Child Protection website Report Form which alerts you to call 911 or the local police.

Jeanne Sarson, MEd, BScN and
Linda MacDonald, MEd, BN
Co-founders Persons Against Non-State Torture (NST)
Human Rights Defenders
361 Prince Street, Truro, NS, Canada B2N 1E4
P: 1.902.895.6659 | C: 1.902.956.2117 |



  1. Violent pornography is a hate crime against women with real world consequences. If the Trudeau government supports women’s rights it must take the strongest possible measures to stop its use and spread in Canada. These are such horrific stories. Jeanne and Linda are doing important work that must be extraordinarily difficult, many thanks to them.

  2. This company should be prosecuted, along with it’s executives. Every asset / possession to which they have access should be seized and on conviction they should never see the light of day again. Canada does not need any such people or companies in our midst. Any politician, or anyone in any kind of authority, who condones or ignores this kind of societal rot needs to be banished forthwith as well!

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