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Real Stories of Women Who Were Trafficked Into Shooting Porn

There are different ways that porn and sex trafficking are connected. Here are just a few real cases that illustrate the exploitative side of the industry.

By May 14, 2021May 25th, 2021No Comments

Human trafficking comes in a variety of different forms, and it can happen in many different ways.

Trafficking situations can be interwoven into seemingly “everyday” situations and places. It could be happening in your very own neighborhood, community, or in an average workplace. It might even be happening to someone you know.

And if you didn’t know already, a specific type of trafficking, sex trafficking, happens in the pornography industry too, which usually comes as a surprise to people in our porn-obsessed society. How could something so normalized and celebrated be connected to something so inhumane?

Keep in mind that not every video on all porn sites involves trafficking and exploitation. The issue is that nonconsensual content exists beside consensual content, and there’s no way for the porn consumer to clearly tell which is which.

Related: Do Some Videos On Mainstream Porn Sites Actually Show Sex Trafficking?

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What is “trafficking,” anyway?

There are different ways that pornography and sex trafficking are connected. But first, let’s define what sex trafficking actually is.

According to The Trafficking Victims Protection Act—one of the most comprehensive anti-trafficking law ever passed in the U.S.—the definition of human sex trafficking specifically defines a human trafficking victim as a person induced to “perform labor or a commercial sex act, through force, fraud, or coercion.”

An individual under the age of 18 (a minor) who specifically performs a commercial sex act will automatically fall under the category of human trafficking. Regardless of any of the following things like force, fraud, or coercion were actually present at the time, it is still considered sex slavery.

Related: How Porn Fuels Sex Trafficking

Keep in mind that someone can be sex trafficked even if they receive a paycheck at the end of the day and sleep in their own bed. Being chained up or transported across state lines is certainly part of what can happen during a trafficking experience, but extreme elements like that are not required for trafficking to take place. All that is required for a situation to be sex trafficking is that something of value is exchanged for a sex act—”a commercial sex act”—and that act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion.

So how do videos of trafficked individuals end up on popular porn sites? There are a few different ways:

Again, not all videos on porn sites feature trafficked individuals. But there isn’t a clear-cut way of knowing who has been exploited, and who hasn’t.

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Wait, kids are on porn sites?

Did you know that child sexual abuse material—commonly referred to as “child pornography”—is an increasingly common issue, even on mainstream porn sites?

The United States Department of Justice states that child sexual abuse material is a form of child sexual exploitation. And again, these children do not have a choice, therefore, these are often extreme but real examples of human trafficking.

Related: XVideos, World’s Most Popular Porn Site, Reportedly Hosts Nonconsensual Content & Child Exploitation

Not only children, but teenage girls—many of them just over 18, and 19—now appear in much of consumable online porn. Many videos fantasize sexual acts of minors even if the performers are over 18—not that the consumer can truly know their real age.

Consider the fact that the company, MindGeek, which owns and operates the majority of what most people understand to be the mainstream porn industry including Pornhub, is under investigation and being sued in multiple lawsuits for hosting videos of child sex trafficking victims.

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Behind the scenes of what’s in the porn scene

Let’s dive deeper, and see this issue of trafficking from the perspective outside of minors, teens, and children.

If we look beyond the fantasies, the finished product, and deceptive industry marketing, we can see there’s more going on than the glamorized appearance of the industry.

But what could exploitation, fraud, coercion, or force look like on a porn set, apart from child exploitation or glorified teen abuse? We’re glad you asked—we have some real cases that illustrate exactly those issues. Some of these cases involve exploitation, others involve verified cases of sex trafficking.

Exploitation and coercion on set

According to one former porn performer, Jan Meza, her experience of being exploited in porn is that, “porn is not glamorous, it’s not some great fantasy lifestyle that you’re living, it’s hell. It’s hell on earth.” (Check out this interview, around 13:20.)

She talks about producers using her, wanting her to have sex with them on the side, and says, “It’s just a big game to them. They didn’t care about the destruction in your life. They don’t care about your personal life, as long as they make a dollar off of you, that’s all they care about.” Crazy, right?

In her words, it is all a lie, and it’s fake. It is something that looks believable to consumers. She was told to make it look believable, even though she was in pain.

Related: The New York Times Exposé That Helped Spark The Possible Beginning Of The End Of Pornhub

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The infamous “GirlsDoPorn” case

This recent case of trafficking in porn is a shocking scheme involving possibly hundreds of victims.

GirlsDoPorn (GDP) was a pornographic website and production company that coerced young women into performing in adult videos. The company capitalized off of the “casting couch” trope and marketed the women featured as young amateurs doing porn for the first time. The concept was wildly popular with each episode garnering hundreds of thousands—even millions—of views and generating an estimated $17 million. The series went on for years, by some estimates from 2015 until 2019, and featured over 500 episodes with different women.

The GDP official profile on Pornhub was “verified,” meaning it had a blue checkmark beside its name and every uploaded video. It was reportedly one of the most popular uploaders on Pornhub.

In 2019, twenty-two women sued GirlsDoPorn. The testimonies of the Jane Does revealed lies and tactics GDP owners and employees used to abuse, trick, and degrade these women before, during, and after shoots. In October 2019, the FBI disclosed their own investigation into the company when they charged GDP owners, Michael Pratt and Matthew Wolfe, and male performer Andre Garcia, with sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion. Wolfe and Garcia were arrested, but Pratt had already fled the country, possibly back to his native country New Zealand, and remains a fugitive to this day. The criminal investigation is still ongoing.

Related: “I Didn’t Know If They’d Kill Me”: What Happened When This Jane Doe Was Trafficked By GirlsDoPorn

The website was shut down in January 2020 after the civil case ruled in the Jane Does’ favor, awarding them $12.7 million in damages and the copyrights to their videos, but for the victims involved this was far from the end of the story.

In December 2020, over 50 GDP exploitation survivors filed suit against Pornhub’s parent company, MindGeek, for allegedly knowingly profiting from images and videos of their sex trafficking nightmares and failing to properly moderate MindGeek-owned sites for the abusive videos. The suit, which was filed in the Southern District of California, seeks punitive and compensatory damages of more than $80 million.

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The Beauty Queen’s story: child sex trafficking in porn

What about being lured into the commercial sex industry by way of fraud as a minor, what does that look like?

This article tells the story of a 15-year-old “beauty queen” who confessed that she was “too distracted by the party and the promise of easy money” to actually realize she had been tricked into entering the porn world. She was told that she would be an extra in a music video, then a strip scene, all for $100. It seemed like easy money, and all she had to do was smile and look pretty, right? Not exactly. She soon discovered the reality of the situation.

Related: MindGeek, Pornhub’s Parent Company, Sued For Reportedly Hosting Videos Of Child Sex Trafficking

There was manipulation, money being thrown in her face, and “temptation” for a certain lifestyle on her end. She ended up having sex on camera, with a man that was double her age, and by the end of it all, she said: “It messed up my whole life.”

When it comes to fraud and trafficking, the law is clear that initial consent does not mean assault can’t happen anyway.

Dozens of Japanese actresses forced and tricked into porn

In other cases, dozens of Japanese actresses and models have been forced into performing in porn.

Young, pretty,, and hoping for stardom, Saki Kozai thought she had found her ticket to fame after an apparent model scout spotted her on a Tokyo street and offered her a job. Then just 24 years old, starstruck and excited, she quickly signed a deal with the agency he introduced her to, believing that she would soon star in promotional videos.

In fact, it was not a modeling agency, and on her first day, Kozai discovered the job required her to have sex on camera.

“I couldn’t take off my clothes. All I could do was cry,” she said in a report, adding that she saw no way out of her dire situation. “There were about 20 people around me, waiting. No woman could say ‘no’ when they’re surrounded like that.”

Related: By The Numbers: Is The Porn Industry Connected To Sex Trafficking?

Kozai, now 30, is among a growing number women who stepped out of the shadows to say they were forced to work in Japan’s multi-billion-dollar porn industry. Note that these reports are from 2016, but as long as people are trafficked into doing porn, their stories especially need to be shared and talked about.

Japanese non-profit group Lighthouse, which works to stop human trafficking, said more than 60 actresses trying to escape the business contacted them in the first half of 2016—well above previous years.

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The Prospective Worker’s story: forced and frauded into porn

In this true story, a 24-year-old woman walked into what she thought was a job interview in Southern California. She ended up being forced to work in the commercial sex industry.

She was going after her dreams, trying to pursue a modeling career, until one agency specifically reached out to her. Here’s what happened:

“Once she arrived at the photoshoot, they gave her some drinks, asked her to take a few topless shots, and then asked for her identification so that they could make copies for her file. Everything after that, she says, is a blur.”

She was drugged, sexually assaulted, forced to work in porn, and all identification was taken away from her. They used threats and if she didn’t cooperate, they would send the topless photos to her family. Overall, these were just a few things that had happened to her.

How is this at all acceptable?

Czech porn company accused of trafficking

News broke in January 2021 of yet another scam where young women lured by the promise of a modeling gig have later been manipulated into shooting porn.

The videos under investigation in the Czech Republic were recorded from 2016 to 2019 and began as routine castings that later turn into sex with a cameraman, according to policeThe company being accused is called Netlook, and it’s reportedly the largest producer of pornography in the Czech Republic.

Most of the alleged victims, 18 of which have come forward so far to describe what happened at the castings, have been young female college students aspiring to be models or looking to make some extra cash.

Related: Phil’s Story: I Bought Sex From A Sex Trafficking Victim Without Realizing It

The women were promised a “comfortable start” in the fashion industry in an advertisement that looked like a casting call for models. They submitted online applications only to learn after the fact that the modeling job they’d hoped to do was actually a pornography shoot.

Detectives from the Czech Republic’s National Center for Combating Organized Crime identified a group of nine “well organized” people who offered paid professional modeling opportunities to the unsuspecting women, then later manipulated them into filming porn and shared the videos on a Czech Casting website.

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There is hope, we can stop the demand

As you can see from the real situations above, pain, voicelessness, and pressure are things many people can feel when they are on a porn set and if they’re in a trafficking situation.

We believe everyone has a voice, and every voice deserves to be heard, regardless of the situation they’re in, and whether it’s in the porn industry, or not. We believe in taking a step toward action when it comes to raising awareness on these topics.

Related: What Could Stop Men From Buying Sex And Watching Porn?

Where do you stand when it comes to this? Will you feed into modern-day slavery by clicking porn, or are you fighting for real, authentic, and genuine love?

It’s time to be a voice against exploitation, and not accept exploitation as the norm. Fight with us to stop the demand for exploitation.

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