Pornhub owner to pay victims $1.8m in sex trafficking case

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Pornhub owner to pay victims $1.8m in sex trafficking case

Pornhub’s parent company has agreed to make payments of $1.8m (£1.42m) to the US government to resolve allegations of profiting from sex trafficking.

US officials said Aylo had “[turned] a blind eye” to reports that women were deceived and coerced into videos appearing on the site.

The charges stem from its hosting of content and accepting of payments from a third party, Girls Do Porn (GDP).

Aylo said it “deeply regrets” hosting the content.

According to court documents, Aylo continued to accept money from the GDP channel even after it was aware of sex trafficking allegations from some of the women appearing in the videos.

The women said that GDP coerced them in to having sex on camera and lied about how the material would be shared.

Aylo, then known as MindGeek, settled with 50 women out of court in 2021. It owns other popular sites such as Youporn, Brazzers and Redtube.

According to the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, “Aylo received money that Aylo knew or should have known was derived from the GDP Operators’ sex trafficking operations”.

There were more than 400 victims in total, and in 2021 GDP producer Ruben Andre Garcia was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for coercing women into appearing in sex videos.

Later that year, the women won the rights to the videos they appeared in and Garcia had to pay $18m to them in restitution.

The most recent settlement with Aylo is known as a deferred prosecution agreement, which means the company has agreed to be prosecuted if it breaks the terms of the deal in the next three years.

It can be monitored by authorities and assessed on factors such as its moderation policy, content screening and the amount of resources it puts in to filtering out illegal videos from its sites.

“This deferred prosecution agreement 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,” United States Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement.

Mr Peace added: “It is our hope that this resolution… brings some measure of closure to those negatively affected.”

In a statement given to media outlets, Aylo said that while GDP provided signed consent forms from the women in the videos, Aylo did not know they were obtained under coercion.

It added: “Aylo is not pleading guilty to any crime, and the Government has agreed to dismiss its charge against the Company after three years, subject to the company’s continued compliance with the Deferred Prosecution Agreement.