The world’s most famous pornography portal, Pornhub, a 13.5 million video giant, is profiting, as documented by The New York Times., on videos of sexual violence perpetrated against minors, so much so that giants like Visa and Mastercard have decided to prevent people from paying for service subscriptions with their credit cards. And so Pornhub has decided to delete videos uploaded by unverified users, among whom can lurk precisely those who exploit child pornography. How many videos were blocked in this way, however, and how many videos of violent child pornography were among them, is unclear.
We may say this much: 1) Pornography itself is not scratched in the slightest by this lockdown; 2) Pornography continues to be a mammoth circuit that generates stellar profits; 3) To upload videos to the world’s largest provider of pornography you only need to be a “certified” user; 4) Videos from non-certified users have been removed from Pornhub, but no one knows the number; 5) there is no certainty that all child sexual abuse content has been removed because there is no evidence of a unique match between child abuse videos and non-certified users; and therefore 6) The problem was only partially addressed, and perhaps very insufficiently.
Yesterday the Italian Postal Police carried out a maxi-operation, called “Luna park”. With it, the agents infiltrated the messaging networks of Telegram and WhatsApp and managed to dismantle 16 criminal associations dedicated to the dissemination of child pornography, with the identification of more than 150 pedophile groups, involving 432 people worldwide, including 81 Italians, 17 arrested in flagrante delicto.
Faced with these results, the International Federation Terre des Hommes—the network of 11 national organizations committed to defending the rights of children founded in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1960—reminds us, with chilling figures, that we must not lower our guard.
Child pornography, says a statement released yesterday by Terre des Hommes, is on an “unstoppable rise.” In Italy there are in fact “[…] 5,930 child victims of crime in 2019, 60.5% of which are girls (-1% compared to 2018, in which there were 5,990, but if we take into account the period from 2009 to 2019 – which shows a 41% increase in these crimes – the phenomenon of violence against children reveals all its dramatic reality with a growth in almost all cases of crime). In particular, in the last 10 years, child pornography offences have dramatically increased by 333%, from 58 to 251, with a clear prevalence of girls: 74% of the victims. Even when comparing with 2018, child pornography is the crime that has increased the most—26%, or 52 more victims than in 2018. Even more sobering and alarming is the 700% increase over the decade (up 11% from 2018 alone) in victims of the crime of possession of pornographic material, 84% of whom are girls and young women.”
Over the past 10 years, child pornography online, the organization’s documents show, has increased dramatically and “it must also be highlighted that the alarming growth of this type of crime travels in parallel with the exponential growth of the demand and supply of pornographic material, now available free of charge, in a pervasive way and in the constant search for differentiation and even stronger stimulation.”
And as much as “factors such as the socio-economic condition of families, the mirage of easy earnings, the direct involvement of girls and boys in search of recognition from the adult world or autonomy (remembering that this crime does not admit “consent”, as recalled by the Court of Cassation) can affect, nothing can change the objective fact that sees minors more and more victims of a crime that violates the fundamental rights to protection and welfare as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989 and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (Article 34). 34), as well as fattening organized crime, omnipresent in the pornography market online.” These are the signs of our times.