U.S. News

Pornhub parent company agrees to pay damages to sex trafficking victims

By Ehren Wynder   |   Dec. 22, 2023 at 3:13 PM

Dec. 22 (UPI) -- The parent company of Pornhub and other adult entertainment websites admitted Thursday to profiting from videos of sex trafficking victims.

Pornhub parent company Aylo Holdings pleaded not guilty to a charge of engaging in unlawful monetary transactions involving sex trafficking proceeds. Through an agreement with prosecutors, however, the company agreed to pay more than $1.8 million in damages to women who said they were featured in pornographic videos that appeared on the company's websites without their consent.

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As part of the agreement, Aylo Holdings also will be assigned a monitor who will to assess the company's protocols for screening and addressing reports of illegal content on its websites. In return, the charges against the company will be dropped after three years.

Aylo, previously known as MindGeek, operates several sites that allow third-party users to post and distribute content. In 2009, the company began hosting videos created by the production companies GirlsDoPorn and GirlsDoToys.

From 2016 to 2019, Aylo received multiple messages from women who said they were tricked into appearing in videos for GDP and GDT, and the videos were posted to Aylo's porn sites without their consent, according to federal prosecutors. Aylo also was made aware that multiple women filed a civil lawsuit against GDP in 2017.

Federal prosecutors claimed Aylo did not remove all the videos requested to be taken down and did not remove GDP's official channel from its websites until 2019. Prosecutors also said Aylo received money from 2017 to 2019 that it "knew or should have known" came from GDP's sex trafficking operations.

James Smith, the assistant director in charge of the FBI's New York field office, told the New York Times Aylo was "motivated by profit" and "enriched itself by turning a blind eye to the concerns of victims who communicated to the company that they were deceived and coerced into participating in illicit sexual activity."

Aylo said in a statement it "deeply regrets" having ever hosted content produced by GDP and GDT, claiming the production companies at the time provided written documentation that purported to be consent forms signed by the women. But Aylo said it now understands the documents were obtained illegally.

"We were troubled to learn that a production company used criminal means to produce its content and submitted consent documentation that we now know was obtained by fraud and coercion," Aylo Management said in the statement.