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The GirlsDoPorn & PornHub Crime Case – How Online Pornographie Facilitates Child Rape and Sex Trafficking; the Role of FinTechs and Crypto!

Last updated on April 7, 2020

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The problem in a nutshell

Online pornography is a huge and highly controversial industry that is being discussed again in times of the COVID-19 quarantine and curfew. On the one hand, there is an industry of professional sex workers who voluntarily earn their living with it. On the other hand, however, this industry also facilitates child abuse, sexual exploitation of minors and sex trafficking. The line between professional sex workers and exploitation is blurred. Many experts are of the opinion that pornography and prostitution should be banned at all to avoid exploitation and sex trafficking. In the US, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) were passed in 2018 to prevent sex trafficking.

Annual revenue from the global porn industry has been estimated at up to $90 billion. To put that into context, Hollywood makes about $10 billion a year.

Julie Bindel in BigPorn published in The Spectator ( inaugural U.S. edition ) on Oct 1, 2019

Facilitators – FinTechs and Payment Processors

The bigger than $90-billion sex industry is highly attractive for the payment services providers. It’s even bigger as online gambling which had estimated worldwide revenue of $48.52 billion in 2018.

Given the US situation with SESTA and FOSTA, major banks, credit card companies, and payment service providers in the US and Europe have withdrawn from the sex industry and are refusing to provide services to the porn industry and their actors. As a result has been an increased switch to unregulated or specially established payment service providers and cryptocurrencies.

Most recently, the decision of PayPal in November 2019 denied PornHub the services (read article on The Verge). This allegedly meant that more than 100,000 porn performers (“artists”) could no longer receive income.

While most serious financial institutions have banned the sex industry many Fintechs, including the German Wirecard, have specialized in this lucrative segment in recent years. These FinTechs profit from the hostility of the establishment. Porn business drives their growth rates, profitability, and valuation. With creatively designed solutions via offshore companies and MID- und CC-Transaction Recoding, providers from the porn industry are accepted as merchants and thus given access to the financial world. Commissions for the Fintechs are very high in the porn industry as they are in other prohibited and/or tightly regulated segments such as online gambling.

The criminal case around GirlsDoPorn and PornHub

Michael Pratt
GirlsDoPorn CEO Michael Pratt

In October 2019, US prosecutors charged the beneficial owners and managers of porn sites GirnDoPorn and GirlDoToys, the New Zealand citizens Michael James Pratt and Matthew Isaac Wolfe along with adult film performer and producer Ruben Andre Garcia and administrative assistant Valorie Moser used deception and false promises to lure female victims, who had responded to ads for modeling jobs that would supposedly pay $5,000. Eventually, the women were told the job was really for adult films.

In October 2019, US prosecutors charged the beneficial owners and managers of porn sites GirnDoPorn and GirlDoToys, the New Zealand citizens Michael James Pratt and Matthew Isaac Wolfe along with adult film performer and producer Ruben Andre Garcia and administrative assistant Valorie Moser used deception and false promises to lure female victims, who had responded to ads for modeling jobs that would supposedly pay $5,000. Eventually, the women were told the job was really for adult films.

The victims were recruited through the San Diego-based talent agency BLL Media, Inc. which used websites such as Craigslist and BeginModeling or social media to recruit young women for a modeling job. Only later was it explained to them that this would be “sex working” and not modeling. BLL Media subsequently used the girls as references and intermediaries, gave them a fake ID and paid them commissions for finding new girls.

Once at the scene, the women were forced to have sex on camera using lies and threats. At least one of the plaintiffs were also raped at the scene. The women were told that they would remain anonymous and that their videos would not be posted on the internet. Truth was, however, that the sex videos were published and distributed on the internet generating more than $17 million in revenue.

The general public, as well as their family and friends, eventually saw the videos online. The viral spread of the videos, without the women’s consent, ruined many of their lives.

While Michael Pratt remains at large an official fugitive his partner Matthew Wolfe and their performer and producer Andre Garcia were arrested. The MindGeek guys Fores Antoon and David Tassillo are recorded as persons of interest in this case. For now!

The civil lawsuit

Already in 2016, 22 victims GirlDoPorn filed a lawsuit against Michael Pratt, Matthew Wolfe, and their co-conspirators in San Diego. They alleged “intentional misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, unlawful and fraudulent business practices, and the intentional infliction of emotional distress.” In January 2020, the court ordered plaintiffs received damages of $12.75 million, as well as ownership to videos they featured in. However, the number of abused and sexually exploited women is much higher.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers speak of more than 100 other victims with whom they have spoken. These too had given similar accounts, Samantha Cole of Motherboard reported.

PornHub still airs illegal sex videos

One of the main distributors of those sex videos was PornHub, a porn channel operated by the MindGeek of the Canadians Fores Antoon and David Tassillo. PornHub is one of the world’s largest websites ranked #9 on SimilarWeb and #53 on Alexa. There are 125 million daily visits to the Pornhub Network of sites which makes is bigger than Netflix. MindGeek, the company behind PornHub is the largest porn company worldwide. According to some experts, MindGeek is a sort of a monopolist in the porn industry. Its bandwidth use exceeds that of Amazon or Facebook.

In October 2019, when Michael Pratt was charged by the US prosecutors, PornHub removed GirlsDoPorn’s official PornHub channel. As a “top shelf” content GirlsDoPron videos represented a reason to buy a Pornhub premium account. In January 2020, after the ruling in the civil case (see above) the official GirlsDoPorn.com site was taken offline. Despite the criminal charges and the court order in the civil case, the now illegal sex videos are still available on and distributed by PornHub as the investigation of Vice showed.

The Online Petition to shut down PornHub

Since the San Diego court ruling against the operators of GirlsDoPorn, the pressure on companies that support porn sites in facilitating child rape, sexual exploitation, and sex smuggling has mounted. This includes PornHub. US activist Laila Mickelwait has launched an online petition for the shutdown of PornHub through her Exodus Cry initiative and has also demanded legal consequences for the beneficial owners and managers of MindGeek, the company behind PornHub. It is owned by the Canadians Feras Antoon and David Tassillo.

By March 31, 2020, the online petition on Change.org had been signed by more than 650,000 people and won politicians in the USA and Canada as supporters. It seems that appropriate investigations against PornHub will be started. Also and especially in connection with the GirlsDoPorn case.

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