Searches for “Ukrainian Girls,” “War Porn” Spike on PornHub, Google

On the same day the most recent offensive by Russian military forces shook Ukraine, searches for pornography objectifying vulnerable Ukrainian women began to surge across the internet.

Searches for terms such as “Ukrainian girls,” “Ukrainian porn,” and “war porn” have spiked in the past week since Russia launched a full-scale military operation in Ukraine on February 24, according to Google trends.

On Reddit, there was an uptick in growth and activity on the board r/UkrainianNSFW, where some users were requesting pornographic details on sexual assaults that may be taking place in the nation amidst the conflict.

Likewise, the top trending searches on PornHub included “Ukraine” and “Ukrainian girl” over the weekend. Other porn sites like XVideos also saw marked increases, with tags such as “Ukraine teen” and “Ukraine prostitute” adding thousands of videos in the last week alone.

A tweet on the PornHub trends by Tom Farr, the Head of Legal Advocacy at the Center to End All Sexual Exploitation (CEASE), quickly went viral, wracking up over 55,000 ‘likes’ in just a few days and sparking a wildfire of furious discussion across Twitter.

Speaking to Reduxx, Farr says he was initially unsurprised at the discovery.

“Unsurprised because this is, sadly, nothing new within the wider industry and those who use it, but obviously despair at the fact that this type of misery-porn is becoming more popular and normalized.”

He noted that the specifics of the trends provided insight into the views, with “girl” being the preferred search term, “It clearly intersected with the desires of users to see, and seek out, material displaying sexual activity occurring with those who appear to be, or are, young in age.”

Though working with CEASE since 2018, Farr became the Head of Legal Advocacy in 2021. His role for the non-profit includes compiling research in the areas of sexual exploitation and human trafficking, as well as writing on law reform.

Farr tells Reduxx that increasing viewer tolerance might be a factor in this recent wave of conflict-related porn searches, the threshold for “satisfaction” driving those who consume it to seek out increasingly more realistic and extreme footage.

“The more porn that users watch, the [more] ‘niche’ they want it to be. [This] often includes increasingly violent material, which then encourages people to make this material — consensually or otherwise — in order to profit,” Farr continues that the cycle persists as the industry shifts to meet fresh demands, thus providing a new “tolerance point.”

Farr says he was pleased at the positive reaction he received from his February 25 tweet, noting that the overwhelming majority of the responses were from those condemning PornHub.

“I can only hope this theme of individuals waking up to the reality of the porn industry continues, particularly amongst younger demographics who have grown up, and continue to grow up, in a culture soaked to saturation point in porn culture and the normalization of sexual objectification.”

A 2021 U.S. State Department report found that human traffickers abducted women and girls from conflict-affected areas in Ukraine for sex and labor trafficking. Research from human rights bodies has consistently found that displaced, refugee, and migrant women and children are at an increased risk of human trafficking.

Genevieve Gluck
Genevieve Gluck
Genevieve is the Co-Founder of Reduxx, and the outlet's Chief Investigative Journalist with a focused interest in pornography, sexual predators, and fetish subcultures. A global nomad, she is currently living in Japan, and is the creator of the podcast Women's Voices.
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