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Pornhub’s Continued Use of Exploitative Videos Leads 40 Victims of Sex Trafficking Operation “GirlsDoPorn” to Seek $40 Million in Damages

Posted: January 21, 2021

For over a decade, three men, Michael Pratt, Andre Garcia, and Matthew Wolfe, ran a sex trafficking operation known as “GirlsDoPorn.” For this operation, they trafficked hundreds of young high school and college-aged girls and women, using fraud and coercion, to have them film pornographic videos under the falsity that these videos would never be posted on the internet or be seen in North America. Instead of remaining private, these videos were uploaded to the GirlsDoPorn site and Pornhub, where GirlsDoPorn monetized its videos as a Pornhub “content partner.”

Then, December 15th, 2020, forty of the victims from this sex-trafficking operation sued Mindgeek, the parent company of Pornhub, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. The complaint accuses Mindgeek, among other accusations, of knowingly benefitting from GirlsDoPorn videos on Pornhub and failing to moderate images circulating on its network of sites. It further alleges that Mindgeek knew that GirlsDoPorn continually coerced and intimidated its victims into having sex on camera and that it failed to remove the videos even when the victims pleaded with the company to remove them. This lawsuit follows prior allegations against Pornhub of hosting child sexual abuse imagery, which ultimately resulted in Pornhub changing its policies to only allow verified uploads and downloads.

These victims are seeking at least $1 million in damages per plaintiff, – totaling more than $40 million – the money Mindgeek earned from hosting and promoting their videos, and legal fees. The victims’ complaint states that the company’s knowing benefit from the sex-trafficking operation caused them “severe emotional distress, significant trauma, attempted suicide, and social and familial ostracization.”

Previously, in October 2019, the FBI indicted GirlsDoPorn for federal counts of sex trafficking and today, its owner, Michael Pratt, remains on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. Then, in early 2020, a California judge ordered the company to pay twenty-two victims $12.7 million for force, fraud, and coercion. Finally, just last month, the male performer in the GirlsDoPorn videos, Andre Garcia, pled guilty to multiple trafficking counts.

Before this current lawsuit, Mindgeek even had attempted to purchase GirlsDoPorn when the state action against it was pending, but it backed out when it learned about the site’s fraud. However, it still continued to promote GirlsDoPorn. Only after the FBI Indictment did Pornhub remove the GirlsDoPorn’s official channel from its site.

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, a time where internet pornography has increased in viewership around the world, it is more critical now than ever for Pornhub to monitor its content. Instead, it continually profits off of commercial sexual exploitation of countless victims. As the site stands, a viewer cannot ensure that the videos on Pornhub – as well as its other “tube” sites like GirlsDoPorn – depict consensual sex acts.

The CSE Institute supports The Traffickinghub campaign, founded by Laila Mickelwait who continues to advocate to end “Pornhub’s campaign of intimidation” by seeking to shut down Pornhub and hold its executives accountable. The CSE Institute also encourages everyone to sign the petition to prevent the further victimization of young women and girls by Mindgeek and Pornhub.






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