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Here Are the Biggest Cases of Trafficking in Porn


Some men who watch porn want to believe that all porn is consensual, but that is just a fantasy. In my experience, free will on a porn set is usually an illusion created so we will be blamed or so we will blame ourselves.

– Jewell, survivor who was trafficked in porn at 14

Trafficking isn’t an anomaly in the porn industry, it’s widespread. It happens at the highest levels, drawing millions of views, lining the pockets of porn industry stakeholders.

According to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, sex trafficking is a commercial sex act induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or when the person induced to perform such an act is under 18.

By this definition, trafficking is common in the porn industry at large and, sadly, much of it goes unreported. Because of lax industry regulations and the widespread ability to create and upload porn from any device, it would be impossible to ever fully calculate the number of porn videos and images created through the means of trafficking. Thanks to the Traffickinghub campaign, which Exodus Cry helped to advance globally, Pornhub deleted 80% of the content on their site, about 10 million videos, which featured suspect content. Other major sites are beginning to follow suit.

There are a growing number of high profile cases that expose and demonstrate the systematic and deviant ways in which trafficking takes place in porn and how porn websites are often deeply complicit.

Below are some of the biggest cases of trafficking in porn.

22 Women Testify Against GirlsDoPorn for Trafficking

In 2016, 22 women testified to being manipulated and tricked by producers into making internet pornography for a website called GirlsDoPorn from 2009 to 2020. The channel was one of the biggest and most popular channels on Pornhub with nearly 800,000 subscribers and over six hundred million views.

Michael Pratt, the founder of the site, would lure college age girls through a Craigslist ad for a modeling job, fly them to another city, and his team would coerce them into making amateur porn by being told they now had to pay for their travel expenses by performing in porn scenes. They were also promised that the videos would never be posted online.

The videos were published on several mainstream porn sites like GirlsDoPorn and Pornhub, along with each woman’s personal information, and the videos were also sent to the victim’s friends and family. Following federal indictments, the GirlsDoPorn channel on Pornhub still stayed up for 5 months after the first case was filed in June 2019. Six individuals associated with the case were charged with sex trafficking. Two pled guilty, however the owner, Michael Pratt, fled the country and is currently on the FBI’s most-wanted list. On January 2, 2020, the 22 women in the trial were awarded $12.775 million in damages.

RELATED: Modeling Ad Deceives 22 Women into Porn Scheme and 22 Women Win $13 Million in Lawsuit Against Predatory Porn Company

MindGeek Sued for $40 Million by 50 Women

In a related GirlsDoPorn case, in December 2020, a lawsuit on behalf of 50 women was filed against MindGeek (Pornhub’s parent company) for allegedly knowingly profiting from images and videos of their sex trafficking nightmares and failing to properly moderate sites owned by MindGeek for the abusive videos.

The women sued MindGeek for $40 million plus any profit made from the videos featured on GirlsDoPorn and Pornhub. The federal complaint alleges MindGeek was aware of the sex trafficking venture as early as 2009 because victims sent MindGeek complaints detailing the site operators’ activities.

30 Victims of Child Pornography, Rape, and Human Trafficking Sue MindGeek

In June 2021, international law firm Brown Rudnick LLP filed a lawsuit against MindGeek, the parent company of Pornhub, its affiliates, owners, and officers on behalf of over 30 victims of child pornography, rape, and human trafficking. The complaint alleges that Pornhub and MindGeek knowingly profited from videos depicting rape, child sexual exploitation, revenge porn, trafficking, and other nonconsensual sexual content uploaded to their site.

The suit claims that MindGeek itself even commissioned or agreed to purchase substantial portions of content produced by human traffickers. The case is ongoing.

More than 100 Victims Call for Full Criminal Investigation into MindGeek

MindGeek currently faces four other lawsuits, bringing the total to seven, including two class action lawsuits in the U.S. on behalf of minors. More than 100 victims have come forward claiming that Pornhub regularly shared child pornography and sexual assault videos as well as content shot or posted without the consent of victims. MindGeek draws 170 million visitors a day and generates $460 million in annual revenue.

One of the cases, brought forth by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) in February 2021, details the exploitation and trafficking of two minors whose rape appeared on subsidiaries of MindGeek. Jane Doe 1 was 16-years-old when she was drugged and raped by a man who filmed the crime and uploaded it to Modelhub. Jane Doe 2 was 14 when she began being trafficked and was forced to appear in videos of adults raping her. The videos were then uploaded to MindGeek’s Pornhub and Redtube.

In January 2021, a woman in Ontario filed a class action lawsuit for $600 million after videos of her sexual abuse at the age of 12 were posted on Pornhub. She received a direct message on Twitter in 2019 informing her of a video of her abuse on Pornhub, notified Pornhub to request its removal, but only ever received an automated response.

Women Lured into Trafficking Through Fake Modeling Ads Run By Czech Casting Channel

According to Czech police, in an eerily similar fashion to the GirlsDoPorn company the Czech Casting Channel had been using fake professional modeling ads to lure young women to porn shoots since 2013. Once arriving at the shoot, the women were aggressively coerced into performing sex acts on film. Nine people from the “Czech Casting” channel owned by NETLOOK, the largest producer of pornography in the Czech Republic, were charged in July 2020 with human trafficking, sexual coercion, and rape.

The videos produced from this criminal scheme were uploaded onto “Czech Casting” Channel, which is part of the Czech Authentic Video Network on Pornhub—it boasts nearly 1 BILLION monetized views across their channels.

RELATED: BREAKING: Young Women Trafficked into Pornhub via Fake Modeling Ads

Taiwanese Socialite, Justin Lee, Sentenced to 80 Years in Prison for Kidnapping and Raping 14 Women on Film

In September 2014, the Taiwanese High Court sentenced Taiwanese socialite, Justin Lee, to 80 years in prison for kidnapping and sexually assaulting 14 women and filming the act. The Taipei District Court convicted Lee in September 2013 for charges relating to raping 9 women and filming 17 women doing sexual acts without their consent. Two of his victims filed a case against him in 2011 which led to his arrest in November 2012.

He had amassed 25 gigabytes worth of pornographic footage, including 178 pictures and 93 videos organized into a classification scheme based on ‘performance rating,’ grades for ‘tightness’ and ‘wetness’, victims’ attributes, and sexual preferences.

The crimes, of course, were found all over Pornhub. The site and whoever uploaded the content then profited off of the abuse, thereby classifying this as a trafficking case. In fact, 2 years after his arrest and during his trial in 2014, it was reported that the videos of his rapes could still be viewed on the site.

RELATED: He Raped 20 Women and the Videos Were Posted to Pornhub

Missing 15 Year-Old Girl Trafficked on Pornhub, Found in 58 Videos

After a 15-year-old girl was missing for nearly a year, her mother found pornographic videos of her missing daughter posted on sites like Pornhub, Periscope, Modelhub and Snapchat and alerted authorities. The man featured in many of the videos, 30-year-old Christopher Johnson, was charged with a felony charge of lewd or lascivious battery on a victim between 12 and 16.

Authorities discovered that the girl was a trafficking victim and was featured in around 58 videos on Pornhub alone. Pornhub’s official Twitter account posted that she was a “verified model with valid ID,” however the tweet was quickly taken down after they realized they had admitted complicity.

Jenna Jameson Was Trafficked into Porn at Just 16 Years Old

The “Queen of Porn” and dubbed the most famous adult entertainer, Jenna Jameson left the industry in 2008 and frequently discusses her entry into porn and sex trafficking in the porn industry. Jameson was groomed and trafficked into porn by her ex-boyfriend and his father in 1993 at just 16 years old. By 1996, she had won several awards, including the 1995 The X-Rated Critics Organization XRCO Award for Starlet of the Year, 1996 Hot D’Or Best New American Starlet, and the 1996 AVN Best New Starlet Award.

Jameson details her abuse and the rampant exploitative practices in the porn industry in her 2004 autobiography, “How to Make Love Like a Porn Star.” Jameson has also spoken out against Pornhub and has tweeted, “Pornhub profits off of the rape and torture of women and children. Take a stand against these evil monsters at MindGeek (their parent company) Stop the use of Pornhub.”

Jenna’s story is of great importance because she was the industry’s ultimate poster child and picture of success. It begs the question: if one of the most famous porn stars of all time is the result of trafficking, how many other women got their start this way?

RELATED: Trafficked at 18 into the LA Porn Industry

Top Porn Industry Agent Accused of Trafficking by Four Performers

In 2018, four porn performers accused a leading agent in the porn industry and owner of LA Direct Models, Derek Hay, of sexual abuse and sex trafficking. The “Jane Doe’s” claimed Hay is connected to an illegal escort business and said he frequently deceived his clients into improper “exclusive multi-year agreements” which include “unconscionable fees” for minor infractions, like shoot cancellations, which Hay then “coerces performers to either pay in cash, or ‘work-off’ by performing sexual acts on him.”

If a client refused or pushed back against these fraudulent measures, he would threaten to destroy their careers by refusing to book them for work. The Jane Doe’s filed the complaint anonymously out of “fear of a substantial risk of retaliatory physical and/or mental harm.” Another complaint was filed in March 2020 against Hay and several others, charging them with 12 felony counts of pimping and pandering through a company called The Luxury Companion.

California Substitute Teacher Filmed and Profited off of Incest

A Northern California substitute teacher, Dawn Giannini, was arrested in October 2018 and charged with 24 felony counts, including lewd and lascivious acts on a child ages 14 or 15, forcible sexual penetration and incest. Giannini filmed sexual acts with her 14 year old relative and uploaded the videos to Pornhub.

Porn Hall of Fame Performer Trafficked by Porn Producers

Hall of Fame Porn performer Nikki Benz filed a lawsuit in April 2018 against porn production company Brazzers, its parent Company MindGeek, and fellow performers, Tony T. and Ramon Nomar for sexual battery. The suit claimed that she was non-consensually “struck on the face, head and breasts hard enough to cause her to bleed” during a shoot in 2016. Benz was then coerced into saying it was consensual in order to receive payment.

She tweeted shortly after the incident, “The director himself put his hands on me and was choking me. Never in a million years did I think Brazzers would allow it.”

Subscription-Based Pornography Site Operator Raped at Least 80 Men, Profited Off of the Videos

Known by the screen name “susanleon33326,” 34-year-old Bryan Deneumostier was sentenced to three years in prison for secretly producing and distributing pornographic audio and video recordings of himself engaged in sexual activity with at least 80 others.

He assisted in the operation of a subscription-based pornography website called “straightboyz.net.” The site offered approximately 619 “hook up” videos that depicted Deneumostier raping other men. He admitted to recording his sexual encounters with approximately 150 men who were featured on the site, 80 of whom were unaware that it was being filmed.

And There are Many More…

As seen in many of the cases above, trafficking in porn is widespread.

Sex trafficking is not just the Hollywood visualization of young people being kidnapped and sold into sex or kept in chains in a basement. While this does happen both abroad and in the United States, many victims are trafficked by their families, romantic partners or other trusted people in their lives through coercion, manipulation and fear. Some people are trafficked without them even knowing it, like the hundreds of victims of revenge porn, or victims of abuse who later find videos of their abuse broadcasted on porn sites.

According to a report of prosecuted sex trafficking cases in the U.S., 59% of coercive tactics used by traffickers were non-physical, compared to 41% of tactics involving physical coercion.

Because of inefficient regulation in the porn industry, there’s no way to know whether any person depicted in porn is a victim or not. This is why we lobbied Mastercard and Visa to stop processing payments to Pornhub, until they could verify the age and consent of all those depicted in the videos on their site. Thankfully, the credit card companies listened and acted.

When kids are exposed to porn at a young age, it’s often exposure to real abuse, rape, and trafficking. Just like porn companies make money off videos of criminal sex acts, they also make money off of web traffic from child viewers.

Big Tech and Big Porn must be held accountable for profiting off of exploitation on both sides of the screen.

We must not only advocate for regulation within the porn industry through the age and consent verification of all those depicted in pornographic videos, but we must also demand ID-based age verification for visitors on porn sites in order to prevent underage exposure to the most vile acts of crime imaginable.

Here are three very practical ways you can help protect children:

1. SIGN the petition, now with 60,000+ signatures, demanding age verification, with ID, on every single porn site. Then share it.
2. WATCH our documentary Raised on Porn, free on YouTube, then like, comment, and share it with 5 friends.
3. GIVE and help us protect 1 million children from porn.

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