Anti-Porn Activist Laila Mickelwait Invited to U.S. Congress to Denounce Pornhub

Anti-Porn Activist Laila Mickelwait Invited to U.S. Congress to Denounce Pornhub

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Financial Services today invited the mouthpiece of anti-porn crusading group Exodus Cry, Laila Haddad Mickelwait, to speak at a hearing titled “Ending Exploitation: How the Financial System Can Work to Dismantle the Business of Human Trafficking.”

Mickelwait presents herself as an “anti-trafficking” expert largely on the strength of her involvement in religious ministry Exodus Cry’s campaign to abolish all pornography.

It is not clear who invited her to speak before the Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy alongside former ambassadors and academics.

Mickelwait has been distancing herself from Exodus Cry and its controversial founder, Benjamin Nolot, an outspoken opponent of LBGTQ+ rights. Today she presented herself to U.S. Congress as founder of the #Traffickinghub movement and president of the Justice Defense Fund.

According to public records, Justice Defense Fund is a non-profit quietly established last year in Colorado, apparently to receive funds for Mickelwait's campaigns outside of Exodus Cry.

The committee’s memorandum cites only one piece of evidence to bring up Pornhub into the hearing: Nicholas Kristof’s December 4 article “The Children of Pornhub.”

Mickelwait and Exodus Cry have taken explicit credit for originating Kristof’s article.

The hearing took place today, taking up almost two hours of the legislators’ time, and was chaired by Subcommittee Chair Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), who is also part of the Democratic Party’s right-leaning caucus New Democrat Coalition.

Himes lauded “non-profits,” especially those which “partner with law enforcement” in his introduction and claimed that the panelists’ “expertise and experience in their respective fields is unparalleled.”

Other than “fighting pornography” on behalf of religious ministries, Mickelwait has no known qualification in the fields under discussion, particularly in anything that might concern the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Financial Services.

XBIZ has contacted Rep. Himes' office for clarification.

The Republican ranking member, Rep. French Hill (Ark.) said they had a “well-crafted plan” to conduct hearings on different types of human trafficking in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted that plan and today’s hearing marked the continuation of their efforts.

Hill claimed that “trafficking remains a huge concern for our country” and denounced President Biden’s reversal of Donald Trump’s border policies. “Human trafficking happens everywhere, in all our nation, in our backyards,” Hill said.

Hill also advocated for “well-funded law enforcement” to dismantle what he called “sex trafficking rings” and praised his “good friend, Ann Wagner,” who laid the groundwork for the current Republican positions on human trafficking.

Wagner, a religious conservative from Missouri, has served in congress since 2013 and was the architect of FOSTA-SESTA. She participated in the hearing today.

Mickelwait repeated her usual allegations against Pornhub, mischaracterizing MindGeek as “a monopoly” and referring back to “the New York Times,” by which she meant the sensationalist Nicholas Kristof article that she has claimed she herself had originated.

To watch the hearing, click here.

Memorandum of U.S. Congress Hearing on Human Trafficking

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