Thanks to one woman’s vision, the world’s biggest porn site is a shell of its former self

Laila Mickelwait is a woman on a mission.

For over a decade she has been involved in anti-sex trafficking advocacy. But it was the “Traffickinghub” campaign she launched in February 2020 that has really made a mark on the world.

Leaving little mystery regarding its aims, Mickelwait describes her crusade as “a decentralised global movement of millions of individuals and hundreds of survivors, organisations and advocates from across a broad spectrum of political, faith and non-faith, economic, and ideological backgrounds, all uniting together for the single purpose of shutting down Pornhub and holding its executives accountable for enabling, distributing and profiting from rape, child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, and criminal image-based sexual abuse.”

Three years later, over 2.3 million people have signed the petition to shut down Pornhub. In 2020 it was the 10th most visited website on the internet and the largest and most popular porn site, with 130 million visits per day. Now it is a shell of its former self.

Over the years, Mercator has featured many articles on both Pornhub’s perversions and Mickelwaits mission — and we were delighted to read a recent update she posted on X, formerly Twitter, cataloguing some of Traffickinghub’s achievements to date.

“Lets make 2024 the year we finish the job and shut down Pornhub!” she wrote, before listing a “summary of Pornhubs reckoning so far”:

- 10.6 million videos taken down (80% of the site)

- 30+ million images taken down

- Cut off by Visa, Mastercard, Discover, PayPal

- Sued by 257 victims in 12 lawsuits across U.S., Canada and UK totalling billions in potential damages

- Criminally charged by the U.S. federal government for profiting from sex trafficking

- Thousands of media articles written exposing Pornhub’s criminality

- Lost all mainstream advertisers

- Permanently kicked off Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok losing 14 million followers/subscribers

- Cut off by Grant Thornton, Roku, Comcast/Xfinity, Kraft Heinz, Unilever and many more businesses

- CEO and COO forced to resign

- Secret shareholder found and exposed

- Forced to change upload process and forced to start verifying those in new videos uploaded

- Company sold at a discount to hastily concocted private equity firm laughably called Ethical Capital for a desperate whitewashing

Mickelwait then affirmed that “we aren’t done yet” and urged supporters to “keep the pressure on” until the website is shut down entirely.

In a longer update on the Traffickinghub website, Mickelwait explained that shutting Pornhub down rather than merely forcing it to enact reforms is necessary because of how much damage has been wrought.

“Its owners and executives must be held accountable to the full extent of the law, and the victims of Pornhub worldwide must be given real justice,” she wrote.

“[W]e must end impunity for corporations and executives who have knowingly enabled, profited from, and globally distributed rape for profit for over a decade, destroying the lives of countless victims.”

“Severe abuses require severe consequences to be a deterrent to future bad actors.” 


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She warned that despite some of the wins she and her supporters have chalked up, “Pornhub is still a crime scene, infested with videos of illegal nonconsensual content, including sex trafficking.”

In June this year, Laila Mickelwait will release her first book, descriptively titled, Takedown: Inside the Fight to Shut Down Pornhub for Child Abuse, Rape, and Sex Trafficking.

“The gripping, true story of one womans battle to expose and shut down a criminal online porn empire,” the book’s blurb explains.

“The culmination of years of activism, Takedown is the true, never before told story of how Mickelwait mobilized a movement of two million people and together they accomplished ‘the biggest takedown of content in Internet history.’ (Financial Times)”.

Sign the Traffickinghub petition here

It’s hard to imagine a better cause to support.

Please let us know if you agree in the comments section below, we are eager to hear your thoughts.

Kurt Mahlburg is a writer and author, and an emerging Australian voice on culture and the Christian faith. He has a passion for both the philosophical and the personal, drawing on his background as a graduate architect, a primary school teacher, a missionary, and a young adult pastor.

Image: Bigstock 


Showing 11 reactions

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  • Kurt Mahlburg
    commented 2024-03-03 03:34:00 +1100
    Thanks for your kind words Paolo. Couldn’t agree more about the damage pornography does. I am grateful to Jesus for setting me free from it.
  • Malcolm McLean
    commented 2024-03-02 09:38:02 +1100
    OK, so I’ll drop it now except for that. I am in good faith, and the main concern is your interests, and I want to protect them in a way that is charitable to you.
  • Kurt Mahlburg
    commented 2024-03-02 07:11:53 +1100
    Malcolm, I’m not convinced you’re engaging in good faith here. Go well.
  • Malcolm McLean
    commented 2024-03-02 07:03:46 +1100
    So it all about protecting the victims, who are the exploited women and children who appear the images and are trafficked and raped, and that’s your real motive. Now let’s pick the apart. People traffickers do not kidnap young ladies from nice families to traffick because their parents don’t like that and will kick a fuss. And it is much easier to find ambitious and greedy and young but not so much ladies who want to live in Western countries and enjoy all the trimmings, and are prepared to do pretty much anything including selling their own bodies to do it. And those are ones who are going to be exploited, trafficked, and raped.
    And so victim blaming is usually the right response. The victims have been treated badly by others, but they are usually the ones chiefly responsible for getting themselves into that mess, and they are the ones who should mostly be blamed.
    And then if you buy a joint of cannabis, usually one of the distributors will have been a child runner, and so you are party to the exploitation of that child. And this is always just skated over. It’s never treated in the same way as pornography, though the impact on children is almost the same.
    Then maybe you can stand before God at last judgement and assert blind that you never indulged in any bit of sexual behaviour that meant you did not give a damn about the impact on children. But how many men or women can do so?

    And now you are probably sincere and you do think that it is all about the victims. But is it really? Is it the motive or is it the pretext, and maybe the reality is that you are just piling it on?
  • paolo giosuè gasparini
    commented 2024-03-02 05:22:56 +1100
    Great article, full of hope, thank you, Kurt!
    Pornography steals everything, it cleans out our soul, leaving it empty, deserted, dirty.
    The sacred Scripture, prophetically speaking when pornography did not yet exist, says: “My eye has deprived my soul” (Lam 3:51, Vulgate text).
    It says: “deprived.” That is, it takes away everything that was beautiful and clean.
    Not only that, but pornography also makes prisoners of pornography itself.
    This addiction is heavy.
    It prevents one from rising to God.
    Our Lord said: “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin” (John 8:34).
    “The slavery of sin is very heavy… because as St. Augustine wrote: the slave of a man may find escape from his master through flight, but the slave of sin drags the sin with him wherever he flees. In fact, the sin he has committed is within him. The pleasure has passed, the sin has passed, what gave pleasure is now far away, but what hurts remains.”

    Masturbation also accompanies pornography, which is equally a grave sin.
    A great man of God said that “masturbation is pure selfishness.”

    It is necessary to recite the holy Rosary every day and ask Mary for the grace of purity.
    To St. Ignatius of Loyola, one day she granted it, and, as he himself attests, this purity was of great value, so much so that he was no longer troubled by certain things.
  • Kurt Mahlburg
    commented 2024-03-02 04:30:21 +1100
    Malcolm, I think you have drawn the battle lines in all the wrong places. Laila’s war (and mine) is not between people who watch pornography and those who don’t. It is between those who produce it and those who are harmed by its production.

    If men who feel ashamed of watching pornography feel even more ashamed as a result of this war being waged, that is a price I think we should all be willing to pay to protect the real victims — namely, the children and women who are being exploited, trafficked and raped.
  • Malcolm McLean
    commented 2024-03-02 04:24:28 +1100
    But they (other thread, the “baddies”) say they don’t like pornography. And with feminism Satan has managed to produce the moralistic whore, and that is a pretty impressive achievement, and how is God meant to deal with that? And that’s what they are and they are hating on weak men who like pornography, they are stigmatising them, they are attacking their dignity and making them feel rejected, and it is extremely nasty and they are doing it in the nastiest way that they can. And what you see is that “pornography is evil” and yes it is, and it’s red on red as is always the way, and they are finding their opening and exploiting a genuine weakness. And so you say “join them”, and doesn’t that now make you one of the mob?
  • Geoffrey Haigh
    followed this page 2024-03-02 04:14:05 +1100
  • Kurt Mahlburg
    commented 2024-03-02 01:40:14 +1100
    Hi Malcolm. Respectfully, I beg to differ. The main measure of virtue is not whether it prompts hate in our ideological opponents but whether an act itself is virtuous as God defines it. Pornography is not — it is evil — so we oppose it, regardless of cultural taboos or the world’s reaction. Blessings.
  • Malcolm McLean
    commented 2024-03-01 10:36:50 +1100
    And there is a snag with this. Which is that if you want to be a saint, you must show heroic virtue in the face if the hatred of the world. And saying you don’t like pornography is not going to bring down on you the hatred of the world, because it is stigmatised, and God doesn’t really very much like it when, in His name, you go after people who are already stigmatised.
  • Kurt Mahlburg
    published this page in The Latest 2024-03-01 09:24:29 +1100