At the height of my vulnerability, as a mentally ill eighteen-year-old, I was trafficked into the porn industry in Los Angeles.
Over one hundred pornographic videos of me were made in a year, over forty of which are still featured on Pornhub. The videos were made over 10 years ago at one of the lowest and most vulnerable times in my life. It is disturbing to know that people are still watching these videos as well as reviewing and ranking me.
For years I didn’t identity as a victim of sex trafficking. I thought sex trafficking referred only to women who were taken by force, kidnapped (like in the movie Taken) or girls who were minors. But the legal definition of trafficking includes fraud and coercion.
I was a mentally ill and very lost teenager. In my vulnerability, I was coerced into the industry and then also coerced into making films that exploited me. I was not giving consent in my right mind to anything I did. I see now that my exploitation in porn was trafficking.
People who have watched my videos will probably never know the depth of my pain behind them. They don’t see the coercion and exploitation of my vulnerability that was involved.
Although my childhood looked normal from the outside, I started experiencing depression early on, at the age of ten. I was raped by a classmate when I was 15. My first suicide attempt, which landed me in the hospital unconscious for two days, was at age 16.
This started a long string of hospitalizations and medication trials. I spent over 100 days in locked psychiatric wards and living in group homes. I even went to a bootcamp type program without any indoor shelter or running water.
My doctors exhausted every option, including electric shock treatment, which I had eleven times. This resulted in the loss of my short-term memory for a year and a half. I wanted to get better, but none of the treatments were working. I was lost in a sea of hopelessness. So at 18 I attempted suicide again.
I woke up four days later. The outlook wasn’t good. My doctors wanted me to permanently move into a group home, collect social security, and go through more shock treatment.
So I checked in with friends to figure out a quick way to make cash and escape this treatment that wasn’t working. They suggested stripping, which quickly opened a door for me to enter the porn industry. I spent the next year working in the porn industry in Los Angeles.
I flew to LA with two suitcases. My agent’s driver picked me up from the airport and drove me directly to an STD testing place. We had lunch while we were waiting for the test results. Once the test results were in, he drove me to my first video shoot.
It was terrible. I was intimidated by all the people there and I did not know how to say “no.” I felt obligated to do as I was told because the driver and agent had paid for all this stuff and my housing. If I said “no” I would be instantly homeless in LA.
My first videos were so traumatizing. At the beginning of each video we were filmed consenting to the video by holding our driver’s license up and confirming we were sober and at least 18 years old. This actually added another layer of fear and intimidation. I felt that anything that happened after that was something I had already consented to.
I think that my mind, in its own sense of self preservation, did not allow me to feel the pain and see the situation for what it truly was: the sexual exploitation of a very vulnerable person who could not consent to these types of acts.
Violent sex and making girls look like teenagers, or younger, was the goal. At times the violent sex made us bleed, at which point the cameras would stop rolling, while it was cleaned up. Once it was cleaned we would just resume filming again. I was so naive as an 18 year old. I desperately wanted to believe I was in control of this very scary situation.
Each performer had a list of things we wouldn’t do. But at times the male performers/producers would start doing things on your “no” list. If you disagreed with going forward, the producer would tell you to pay them back for your hair and make up and for wasting their time. I only ever walked off of one of those sets.
After my time in porn I became addicted to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain and memories. I was drinking 12 or more hours a day, taking lots of medications and occasionally other drugs too. My greatest hope during those years was that I could successfully commit suicide.
It’s taken me over ten years to even start to process the trauma. I think that my mind, in its own sense of self preservation, did not allow me to feel the pain and see the situation for what it truly was: the sexual exploitation of a very vulnerable person who could not consent to these types of acts.
Now when I look at myself in these movies, I see myself being raped over and over again. I didn’t have the strength to say no. I was in fear for my own survival and I was doing what I felt was the only available option for someone like me.
I hope they know that coercion is trafficking.
People who have watched my videos will probably never know the depth of my pain behind them. They don’t see the coercion and exploitation of my vulnerability that was involved. And they don’t see the devastating aftermath. I am one of the few I know of who successfully left the porn industry that did not commit suicide, overdose on drugs, or end up in another exploitative situation/relationship for survival.
I’m grateful that today my life is completely turned around; I have been sober for 10 years, have a successful career, and have a loving marriage and family. In sharing my story I desire to bring awareness to porn viewers on the harms and realities of this industry, as well as bring hope to survivors (and the women and men still in it).
I hope that viewers today know that many of the women on Pornhub are being raped. Many aren’t strong enough to say “no”. I hope they know that coercion is trafficking.
Those of us who are featured in videos on Pornhub as well as other sites should have the power and agency to have them removed. I don’t own the content that I was featured in so I do not have the power yet to have it removed from the internet or Pornhub. Many of the women on Pornhub wish they could have their videos removed.
Right now Pornhub and other sites financially profit from videos of our exploitation and they often ignore survivors who plead with them to have videos taken down. They don’t seem interested in helping us move on so that we can rebuild our lives from the trauma.
I wholeheartedly believe in Exodus Cry’s Traffickinghub campaign and I call for Pornhub to be shut down and held accountable for profiting from the exploitation and rape of vulnerable women and children.
Please take action: join this fight and sign the Traffickinghub petition today.
One of the greatest ways you can make an impact is by joining Exodus Cry’s dedicated community of Premium Partners who are giving $10/month, or more, to sustain this long fight till Pornhub is brought to justice. Will you join Exodus Cry? Start here.