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Modeling Ad Deceives 22 Women into Porn Scheme


On August 19, a trial began in San Diego, in which 22 women testified to being manipulated and tricked by producers into making internet pornography for a website called Girls Do Porn. Each woman’s claim includes being seriously deceived by the producers from beginning to end.

What began as a Craigslist ad for a modeling job, featuring pictures of fully clothed women, turned into a bait-and-switch to make amateur porn. Then, the producers convinced the women it would never appear online. As it turns out, the videos were published across several mainstream porn sites, including Girls Do Porn and Pornhub, the world’s largest porn site. In most cases, each woman’s personal identification eventually appeared online as well.

Even a former employee for Girls Do Porn, Amberlyn Clark, testified that the main objective of her role was to delude recruits into believing their videos would never be featured online.

A former employee… testified that the main objective of her role was to delude recruits into believing their videos would never be featured online.

The women were allegedly pledged $5,000 initially for the video shoot, but after being flown out to San Diego, many of the women were told they could not be compensated at the agreed-upon price and were then paid significantly less—in some cases, only $400. At the same time, the women were warned, after the fact, that they could be sued for the cost of the flight and hotel if they didn’t comply.

This Is Sex Trafficking

The damaging ordeals these women endured are, by definition, sex trafficking situations. The tactics used against these women included recruitment, coercion, manipulation, fraud and the exploitation of their positions of vulnerabilityall elements of sex trafficking. Job-related deception, debt bondage, and the transportation of individuals are all well-known methods for coercing women into various areas of the sex trade, often without presenting a clear way out. These tactics used to exploit women are common across the board throughout the sex industry.

It is imperative to note in these instances that although sexual exploitation often involves prostitution through trafficking, it is also common for victims to be used in the production of pornography.1

We are accustomed to hearing stories of trafficking victims who were deceived with a false job ad, moved to another state or country for it, and were then forced into prostitution to “pay off a debt.” This textbook narrative mirrors the stories presented by the 22 women deceived by Girls Do Porn.

If deception and coercion are the standard means for recruiting individuals into sexual exploitation in prostitution, should we expect any different for the porn industry?

RELATED: Women in Porn Accuse Top Agent of Sexual Abuse, Trafficking

Trafficking and sexual exploitation are not restricted to the sector of prostitution alone. Porn and prostitution both make up critical components of the sex industry as a whole, and one cannot be separated from the other. If deception and coercion are the standard means for recruiting individuals into sexual exploitation in prostitution, should we expect any different for the porn industry?

According to one of the attorneys representing the women, his team interviewed more than 100 women who were recruited and filmed by Girls Do Porn from 2009 to 2018, and all 100 carried stories with elements of fraud, deception, and shaming like those of the 22 women who are pressing charges.2

But is exploitation in porn less severe than in prostitution? A peer-reviewed study by Ana Bridges and her fellow researchers provides a glimpse into the treatment endured by women in the porn industry:

“A 2010 study of 304 pornographic scenes discovered that 88.2% contained physical aggression, including spanking, gagging, and slapping. Nearly half (48.7%) contained verbal aggression, mostly name-calling. The perpetrators were mostly male and the targets were mostly female. The targets were depicted responding either neutrally or positively.”3

It is also noted by Dr. MaryAnne Layden that “once [the pornography actresses] are in the industry they have high rates of substance abuse […] The experience I find most common among the performers is that they have to be drunk, high or dissociated in order to go to work.”4

RELATED: What Happened When We Went to a Porn Convention

Researchers who collect data on the experiences of men who purchase women for sex have noted that “violence, degradation, and humiliation are eroticized […] women and children smile in pornography, [therefore] perpetrators are convinced that women and children enjoy abuse and exploitation.”5

These mindsets picked up by sex buyers through behaviors displayed in porn translate into similar treatment and abuse of women in prostitution. Women all across the sex industry share similar experiences, and the methods used in exploitation are the same. Sexual exploitation cannot occur in one area of the industry without affecting the others.

We cannot allow the legal porn industry to get away with trafficking. As we consider the trial and fight of these 22 women who have bravely stepped up to confront Girls Do Porn, we should bear in mind that the outcome of their fight may set a precedent for what’s acceptable in this industry. The ripple effect of this fight may very well touch many of the millions currently being exploited in the larger global sex industry.

Give Freedom to Sexually Exploited Women

Footnotes

  • 1. Marinova, Nadejda K., and Patrick James. 2012. “The Tragedy Of Human Trafficking: Competing Theories and European Evidence1.” Foreign Policy Analysis 8(3): 231–53.
    Cole, Samantha, Emanuel Maiberg. 2019. “How Pornhub Enables Doxing and Harassment.” Vice. (July 16, 2019).
  • 2. Ana Bridges, Robert Wosnitzer, Chyng Sun, and Rachael Liberman, “Aggression and sexual behavior in best-selling pornography videos: A content analysis update,” Violence Against Women 16 (Oct. 2010): 1065-1085.
  • 3. Judith Reisman, Jeffrey Sanitover, Mary Anne Layden, and James B. Weaver, “Hearing on the brain science behind pornography addiction and the effects of addiction on families and communities,” Hearing to U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, Nov. 18, 2004. http://www.ccv.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Judith_Reisman_ Senate_Testimony-2004.11.18.pdf (accessed June 7, 2018).
    Hughes, D. M. (2003). Prostitution Online. Journal of Trauma Practice, 2(3/4), 115–131. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.oralroberts.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=27652564&site=eds-live&scope=site
  • 4. Judith Reisman, Jeffrey Sanitover, Mary Anne Layden, and James B. Weaver, “Hearing on the brain science behind pornography addiction and the effects of addiction on families and communities,” Hearing to U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, Nov. 18, 2004. http://www.ccv.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Judith_Reisman_ Senate_Testimony-2004.11.18.pdf (accessed June 7, 2018).
  • 5. Hughes, D. M. (2003). Prostitution Online. Journal of Trauma Practice, 2(3/4), 115–131. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.oralroberts.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=27652564&site=eds-live&scope=site