40 Women Sue Pornhub, Alleging Profits from Sex-Trafficking Scheme by Content Partner

Written by The Anand Market

Updated on:

40 women have taken legal action against Pornhub, claiming that it benefited from a sex-trafficking scheme conducted by a content partner called Girls Do Porn. This content partner’s owners are facing charges from US officials.

The women argue that both Pornhub and its parent company, MindGeek, were aware of the allegations against Girls Do Porn but continued their partnership. This comes at a time when Pornhub is facing issues with customer payments due to a scandal involving illegal content.

Major payment providers like Mastercard and Visa have severed ties with the site following a New York Times investigation that accused it of hosting child abuse and rape-related material. The scandal was also highlighted by a BBC investigation that revealed the repeated uploading of child rape content on the platform and its impact on victims.

As a result, the site, one of the world’s most popular adult websites, is now limited to cryptocurrency options such as Bitcoin for subscription payments.

40 Women Sue Pornhub

The lawsuit brought by the 40 women, identified as Jane Doe and assigned numbers, seeks a jury trial and more than $1 million each in damages. Girls Do Porn was a part of MindGeek’s partner programs until October 2019 when the US Department of Justice shut it down by arresting and charging its senior staff.

While Pornhub and other MindGeek sites removed the Girls Do Porn channel when the charges were filed, the complaint alleges that there was no longer a company left for MindGeek to partner with at that point. The victims had repeatedly contacted the company to report issues, with the first court case on behalf of victims filed in June 2016.

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The court complaint states that MindGeek knew as early as 2009 and certainly by the fall of 2016 that Girls Do Porn was involved in sex trafficking through fraud, coercion, and intimidation. Despite this knowledge, MindGeek continued its partnership until it was no longer profitable, without investigating or addressing the evidence of sex trafficking.

The complaint also notes that the videos remained online even after the sex-trafficking charges were filed, with some still visible as recently as December 12th.

Michael Pratt, one of the owners of Girls Do Porn, remains a fugitive on the FBI’s most-wanted list for sex-trafficking crimes and the production of child pornography, while Matthew Isaac Wolfe is awaiting trial. MindGeek has not yet commented on the legal filing by the Jane Does.