Pornhub ban sparks furious protests in Thailand

Protests have erupted in Thailand over the government’s recent decision to ban Pornhub, along with 190 other pornography sites.

Demonstrators gathered outside the country’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Society building, carrying placards that read “free Pornhub” and “reclaim Pornhub”. Others marched while wearing Pornhub merchandise, while the Twitter hashtag #SavePornhub began trending online.

Puttipong Punnakanta, Thailand’s digital minister, said that the content hosted on sites like Pornhub gave access to users of any age, claiming that Pornhub not only breaks the law, but violates the rights of women and children.

“I believe that people who have children will understand the ministry’s move because the site contains lots of inappropriate video clips.”

Punnakanta said that the new restriction was to enforce the legal ban on pornography and gambling sites, both of which are illegal in Thailand.

Pornhub came under fire earlier this year when it was accused of profiting off videos of actual rapes, sometimes of children, and of “revenge porn” which was uploaded to its site without the consent of those in the video.

As one Guardian article wrote:
“Campaigners say that this fact, coupled with the high prevalence of videos promoting sex with young teenagers – “teen” is one of the most popular categories on the site – means there is an urgent need to know for certain that videos are made consensually.

In October last year, a 15-year-old girl who went missing in Florida was found after videos of her allegedly being raped were uploaded to Pornhub, among other sites. Pornhub removed the video once it was reported to and a man accused of statutory rape in connection with the case is currently awaiting trial.

The site was also criticised for continuing to host videos by the amateur porn specialists GirlsDoPorn – a company that offered girls being featured in porn “for the first and only time” – even as a court in San Diego heard evidence that the videos were made using dishonesty and abuse. The official GirlsDoPorn page was not removed from Pornhub until October, although the court began hearing evidence in August. Their videos were still being found on Pornhub months later.

The men who ran GirlsDoPorn were found liable in a civil case. Two are currently in custody and are now facing criminal charges of sex trafficking while a third has fled the country and is considered a fugitive.

Last month the BBC reported the story of a woman who was raped at 14, with the video of her abuse ending up on Pornhub. She said she then faced a long struggle to have the video removed from the site.”

Despite the site being banned in Thailand, experts have now said there has been a spike in search for Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) since the news was announced, which allow users to view content that would otherwise be prohibited by governments.

It’s not hard to see why there would be such a love affair between Thailand and the scandal-ridden Canadian porn company; Thailand is among the top 20 countries on earth for daily traffic to Pornhub, and in 2019 users spent more time on the site than any other country in the world. Additionally, Thailand is well known for its enormous domestic sex industry. According to Havoscope, Thai prostitution is a 6.4 billion dollar industry, with a quarter of a million women and girls currently selling their bodies for money in the southeast Asian country.

Moreover, child prostitution in Thailand has been an endemic problem in the country for years. According to the US-based research institute “Protection Project”, estimates of the number of child victims of prostitution living in Thailand ranges from 12,000 to the hundreds of thousands. The Government, university researchers, and NGOs estimated that there are as many as 30,000 to 40,000 prostitutes under 18 years of age, not including foreign migrants.

Pornhub has not yet commented on the ban.

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