PornHub Admits To Profiting Off Of Sex Trafficking, Ordered To Pay $2 Million Fine

Natasha Biase

PornHub’s parent company has admitted to profiting off sex trafficking and will have to pay a fine of nearly $2 million to the United States Government as a result. The Canada-based company Aylo made a settlement deal with prosecutors on Thursday following a lengthy legal battle.

In addition to paying compensation to the victims whose abuse images were used on Aylo’s platforms, the adult entertainment conglomerate will also have to remove illegal content from all platforms and will be under three-year supervision from the Justice Department.

According to Variety, in 2009, Aylo hosted pornographic videos on some of its sites produced by porn label GirlsDoPorn. The label’s founder Michael Pratt, was later indicted by a federal grand jury for “deceiving and coercing young women to appear in sex videos which were then posted online without the women’s consent.”

From 2017 to 2019, Aylo reportedly received just over $106,000 from GirlsDoPorn’s sex trafficking content. Between 2017 and 2020, it also received advertising payouts totalling over $760,000 from content attributed to GirlsDoPorn.

Despite Aylo, which was formerly known as MindGeek, receiving repeat requests to remove GirlsDoPorn content from its websites between 2016 and 2019, the channel wasn’t shut down until December of 2020.

“Motivated by profit, Aylo Holdings knowingly 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,” expressed assistant director-in-charge of the FBI’s New York field office James Smith in a statement.

Although Aylo admitted that it “deeply regrets” hosting sex trafficking content created and produced by GirlsDoPorn, it expressed in a statement that it was “unaware of GDP’s criminal conduct.”

While the internet porn megabrand didn’t voluntarily reveal its offenses, prosecutors said they “entered into the deferred prosecution agreement with Aylo” for cooperating in the 30-month investigation conducted by U.S. law enforcement and vowed to improve “its compliance program and internal controls.”

In a statement, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace said its agreement with Aylor “holds the parent company of accountable for its role in hosting videos and accepting payments from criminal actors who coerced young women into engaging in sexual acts on videos that were posted without their consent.”

“It is our hope that this resolution, which includes certain agreed payments to the women whose images were posted on the company’s platforms and an independent monitorship brings some measure of closure to those negatively affected,” added Peace.

“This resolution will not only provide oversight over one of the largest online content distributors in the world and ensure the company’s lawful behavior, but it will also develop industry-wide standards for safety and compliance.”

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