Pornhub sued by dozens of women alleging it profits off rape and videos of children

Credit: PA

Dozens of woman are suing PornHub, claiming the site knowingly profited from videos posted without their consent featuring rape and children.

Fourteen of the 34 women said they were underage at the time they were filmed and said they should be considered "a victim of child sex trafficking".

The group of women claim MindGeek, the company that owns PornHub, created a "bustling marketplace" for "child pornography, rape videos, trafficked videos and every other form of non-consensual content”.

“This is a case about rape, not pornography,” the lawsuit states.

“It is a case about the rape and sexual exploitation of children. It is a case about the rape and sexual exploitation of men and women.

“And it is a case about each of these defendants knowingly and intentionally electing to capitalise and profit from the horrendous exploitation and abuse of tens of thousands of other human beings so they could make more than the enormous sums of money they would have otherwise made anyway.”

Only one of the 34 women is named in a lawsuit filed in California, while four are listed as being UK citizens when they were filmed.

Serena Fleites, the only woman named in the lawsuit, alleges she was 13 when her boyfriend coerced her into making a sex video.

It was posted to Pornhub without her knowledge or consent, the lawsuit states, and was viewed millions of times.

Ms Fleites became depressed and attempted suicide as a result of the video, it is claimed.

The lawsuit states all the women suffered “substantial damages,” including “physical, psychological, financial and reputational harm”.

Crystal Palace footballer Leigh Nicol said she too was a victim after her private videos appeared on the porn site.

The 25-year-old said: “When the videos appeared on PornHub it ruined my life, it killed my personality, it zapped the happiness out of me. It brought me almost two years of shame, depression, anxiety, horrifying thoughts, public embarrassment and scars.

“I still bear those scars. It’ll be an ongoing battle for the foreseeable future for myself and other survivors.”

Lawyers for the women are demanding substanstial damages, saying that MindGeek's websites are some of the most popular and the online porn industry may generate as much as £70 billion a year.

Pornhub said it has “zero tolerance” for illegal content and investigates all complaints.

It said allegations that it is running a criminal enterprise similar to that of the Sopranos are “utterly absurd, completely reckless and categorically false”.

Pornhub said its website has “the most comprehensive safeguards in user-generated platform history, which include the banning of uploads from unverified users, expanding our moderation processes and cooperating with dozens of non-profit organisations around the world”.