Pornhub link to Crime Stoppers International sparks Australian arm to quit deal

Ben Harvey
The Nightly
3 Min Read
A controversial deal between Crime Stoppers International and a company which owns major adult site Pornhub has led Crime Stoppers Australia to withdraw from the international crime body.
A controversial deal between Crime Stoppers International and a company which owns major adult site Pornhub has led Crime Stoppers Australia to withdraw from the international crime body. Credit: DMegias - stock.adobe.com

A controversial deal to audit the world’s biggest porn sites for evidence of sex slavery and child abuse has triggered Australia’s withdrawal from Crime Stoppers International.

The commercial contract between CSI and Ethical Capital Partners, the owner of leading sites Pornhub and Brazzers, had appalled conservative members of the anonymous crime reporting organisation, which is headquartered in New Mexico and has 800 chapters.

The contract was inked by Australian intelligence consultant Shane Britten, who held senior counter-terrorism positions in Canberra’s spy bureaucracy before taking the job as chief executive of Crime Stoppers International in August 2020.

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The initiative was billed by Mr Britten as a “ground-breaking project” which would serve to “combat the distribution of child sexual abuse material, tackle human trafficking, confront revenge porn and mitigate various online harms”.

Ethical Capital Partners purchased porn site operator Mindgeek last year. The Canada-headquartered private equity firm re-housed Pornhub, Brazzers, Reality Kings, Twistys, MOFOS, men.com, digitalplayground.com and Reality Dudes in the new corporate vehicle Aylo.

Ethical Capital Partners then approached Crime Stoppers International to review Aylo’s “trust and safety processes”.

CSI’s directors understood the contract would raise eyebrows but decided the real-world positives of having unfettered access to the internal processes of the online sex industry outweighed any public relations blowback.

“CSI recognises the production of online content within the adult entertainment industry is inevitable and chooses collaboration over exclusion,” the organisation said in February after signing the audit contract.

Affiliated countries who opposed the deal voiced their concerns and when CSI resolved to continue with the website investigation Crime Stoppers Australia pulled the pin.

“The Crime Stoppers Australia board has unanimously resolved to immediately end its long-standing membership with Crime Stoppers International,” the local organisation said.

“The decision stems from concerns about the international body’s partnership with Aylo and Ethical Capital Partners, which owns a portfolio of adult entertainment websites, including Pornhub.

Shane Britten is the head of Crime Stoppers International.
Shane Britten is the head of Crime Stoppers International. Credit: Crime Stoppers International/Supplied

“Prior to making this decision, Crime Stoppers Australia had actively urged the international body to sever ties with Aylo/ECP as a priority, particularly noting publicly available details regarding recent or current legal actions involving Aylo.

“While Crime Stoppers Australia acknowledges the lawful operation of online adult entertainment generally, the board holds the view that the partnership between Crime Stoppers International, Aylo and Ethical Capital Partners is at odds with Crime Stoppers Australia’s charitable purpose, which is to advance the security or safety of Australia and the Australian public.

“That purpose has been built on a foundation of trust with our law enforcement partners and the Australian people.”

Police in South Australia brought the issue to a head this month when senior officers suspended their relationship with Crime Stoppers Australia in protest over the CSI contract.

“South Australia Police is aware of the recent partnership between Crime Stoppers International and Ethical Capital Partners and has sought further information from Crime Stoppers South Australia,” SA Police said.

“As an interim step, SAPOL has suspended involvement in current activities with CSSA pending the receipt of further advice.”

SA Police last week re-joined CSA.

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