Blog

Dozens of Women were Forced to Perform Sex on Camera in San Diego Porn Scheme, Lawsuit Alleges

By July 23, 2019 No Comments
san-diego-porn-scheme-sex-trafficking-forced-sex-porn-kills-love-camera-filming-set
TRIGGER WARNING

Sex trafficking on tape is easier to view than you might realize.

According to recent news reports, twenty-two women are suing adult porn site, Girls Do Porn, alleging they were coerced into performing.

The site’s owners, Michael Pratt and Matthew Wolfe, as well as actor and recruiter Andre Garcia, have been accused of convincing young women to perform on-camera by dishonestly claiming the footage would not be posted or shared online.

Girls Do Porn’s tagline is: “amateur teens having sex on video.” Each of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are adults, and no performers have been identified as under 18 at the time of filming, but the premise of Girls Do Porn’s videos is to imply that the young women are performing for the first time in porn. Supposedly, the appeal of this content is believing the women would normally never set foot on a porn set, but they are desperate for cash.

Related: “You’re Gonna Be A Star”: The Day I Was Drugged And Raped On A Porn Set

Despite the promises that these videos would not be shared online, of course, they were. The women plaintiffs in the civil case say their lives were “irreparably damaged as a result of unexpectedly having these films widely distributed.”

“It was a devastating feeling,” one woman said. “I felt like I was lied to. I felt like I was definitely taken advantage of. I felt stupid even though I know it wasn’t my fault for falling for something that was so well put together.”

Another woman involved in the scheme reached out to us and told us her side of the story:

“Hundreds of girls, including myself, were involved. Our lives were exploited and ruined all because three men wanted to profit. I totally agree with your movement. I was illegally manipulated into contributing to the porn industry. This is happening to college girls every day. These men are taking women’s freedom and lives. It killed love for us on personal levels as victims to it. Girls like myself have considered suicide as the only way out. I want the victims to know they have a voice. I want to put this company and industry of amateur porn to an end.  I’ve been working with the attorney involved with the case and we want this scandal to be brought to the public’s eye.”

RelatedHow Teen Girls Get Tricked And Trafficked Every Day Into Doing Porn

When the value of a porn performer begins high and diminishes rapidly, no wonder there is exploitation of young girls. This particular scheme preyed on young women looking to make quick cash and ultimately turned it into porn encouraging a culture of sexual entitlement.

Podcast - Listen

The porn scheme

Pratt and his colleagues relied on Craigslist to find women between the ages of 18-22, but in the advertisements, Girls Do Porn wasn’t mentioned anywhere. They completely misrepresented themselves as Begin Modeling casting swimsuit models.

After the girls agreed, they were flown to San Diego, but instead of modeling gigs, they were told the job was actually to appear in an adult film. The women were reassured that their videos would only be released on DVD to collectors in Australia and New Zealand, not online.

That promise was quickly broken. Girls Do Porn shared the films on their free and for-pay website as well as posted clips on their tube channels.

Related: How Can You Know For Certain The Porn You’re Watching Is Consensual?

The porn company’s lawyers protest that each woman signed the contract agreeing the videos could be used in any way the producers wanted, but the women say they were handed the hefty contract, given only a few minutes to review it, and forced to sign it without knowing what it all said. The lawsuit also alleges that the women were “pressured into signing unread contracts and continuing with performances despite voicing discomfort.”

The film shoots themselves reportedly lasted for as long as seven hours. The sex, many of the women said, was painful. When they tried to stop the producers told them they would not be paid, and yet when the shoots ended many women said they were not paid the full amount promised.

Val Moser, the website’s office manager and chauffeur who drove the women to and from the airport, corroborated the issue of pay. She said half of all the women she spoke to complained to her about getting paid less than they were promised.

The cost of coercion

What Girls Do Porn has done to these women—almost certainly more than the 22 included in this lawsuit—is beyond serious.

This legal case is not an attempt at redemption for a bad decision some women regret, but is justice for coercion cleverly crafted to sex traffic young women.

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

If you’re wondering how this scheme could be sex trafficking, allow us to introduce you to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

In 2000, in response to reports of international human trafficking, one of the broadest U.S. bipartisan coalitions in history came together to pass the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, or TVPA. [1] The landmark legislation identified “severe forms” of human trafficking, imposed harsh criminal penalties for offenders, and provided support systems for the victims. [2]

Why was that such a big deal?

People Are Not Products - White

The TVPA defines sex trafficking as a situation in which “a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such acts has not attained 18 years of age.” [3] It was designed in response to international sex trafficking like what we see in movies like “Taken,” but it had an interesting result: it ended up shining a light on every form of sex trafficking, especially in the United States—including when it happens in the name of the porn industry.

But how can porn performers be sex trafficked? As survivors and data show, some people have been forced, tricked, or coerced into entering the industry in the first place, unable to leave once they’ve started. Not only that, but performers who are already in the industry can be forced, tricked, or coerced into performing sex acts they’re uncomfortable with, or performing with other performers on their “no” list. This is also considered a form of sex trafficking under the TVPA.

Under the TVPA definition, these women were absolutely trafficked. But, if you can believe it, their stories get worse.

Stalked, humiliated, and blackmailed

After finding their videos online, many of the women tried to reach out to their contacts at the porn production company only to find that they had changed their phone numbers. Worse still, Girls Do Porn allegedly released performers’ legal names online, which resulted in stalking, harassment, bullying, and blackmail from what the lawsuit describes as “fans.”

Some of the women said they have experienced thoughts of suicide, humiliation, and isolation as a result of being lied to and then publicly outed.

Related: Not All Porn Is Consensual. Don’t Believe It? Just Ask These Performers.

This case is not actually new. The civil lawsuit was filed three years ago, but opening statements for the trial were only scheduled to begin in July.

In January this year, a San Diego Superior Court Judge issued a tentative ruling that the women were likely to prevail as Pratt and his employees “engaged in malice, fraud, and coercion.”

That same day, Pratt filed for bankruptcy. Through their lawyer, the women accused Pratt and his attorney of filing a bogus bankruptcy case purely to stall the civil trial. In March, a federal bankruptcy judge ruled that the civil case could proceed despite Pratt’s bankruptcy case, and Pratt voluntarily dismissed the bankruptcy case.

Harness

A genre of entitlement

Of course, not every porn company tricks, forces, or coerces performers to have sex on camera. Even so, unfortunately, it happens way too often—we’ve heard too many stories of the porn industry’s sketchy dealings and this Girls Do Porn story is just another.

Courtney Trouble, a performer, had this to say about working in porn:

“As a vice industry, [porn] can attract people who just want to be part of the fantasy lifestyle of partying and sex. Stigma against porn…is what makes men like this think they can get away with exploiting struggling women or established professionals.”

Related10 Popular Ex-Porn Performers Reveal The Brutal Truth Behind Their Most Famous Scenes

But even if the stigma against porn and its performers didn’t exist, there would still be sex trafficking and exploitation.

In the case of Girls Do Porn, the company’s scheme is not only harmful to many women but it also feeds an entitled porn fantasy of young women who normally would never be in a porn film resorting to performing to pay for student loans but need some convincing (read: coercion) to play along.

RelatedThe Porn Industry’s Dark Secrets: Not All Porn Is Consensual

In writing about this case, Samantha Cole described the genre as “a fantasy that plays on coercion, and a real-life version of the ‘casting couch’ porn trope, which blurs the line between reality and fiction”—and sex trafficking, we may add.

There is little or no thought of how a young woman feels in that situation—and worse, to consumers, it is more exciting because of how tricked, betrayed, and violated she feels afterward. In a #MeToo world, how is this acceptable?

Send this to a friend

Like all websites, we use cookies. By continuing on this site, you agree to our use of cookies. More

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close