Blurred image of a person sitting on a bed representing the federal charges against Girls Do Porn for trafficking
October 24, 2019

Girls Do Porn’s Exploitation and Trafficking Are Not an Anomaly

As the owners and key employees of Girls Do Porn are facing federal counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion, the porn industry is desperately trying to distance itself from the fact that it profits off of and is inherently intertwined with sexual exploitation, abuse, and trafficking. Even media outlets such as VICE, which has at times been willing to cast a marginally critical eye on the pornography industry, are attempting to provide the industry cover by claiming that Girls Do Porn is merely a criminal aberration and is distinctly separate from an otherwise “upstanding” industry.

“This is not standard practice,” Motherboard—a tech-focused element of VICE—claims in its piece defending the multi-billion dollar porn industry, “people within the industry continue to speak out about how this is not normal.” Alison Boden, CEO of Kink.com, is quoted by Motherboard as saying Girls Do Porn isn’t even “an outlier of the porn industry’s operating procedure [but instead] a series of despicable crimes that were filmed and exploited for profit.”

First, it is true that what occurred was a series of despicable crimes that were filmed and exploited for profit by Girls Do Porn. Second, the facts don’t support the claim that the reported exploitation is a non-representative exception in the porn industry rather than evidence of an inherent and ongoing problem.

Girls Do Porn was a part of the porn industry and the exploitation, abuse, and trafficking inherent to the porn industry aren’t going to suddenly disappear with Girls Do Porn being shuttered.

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Research Summary: “The Rise of the Modern Online Pornography Industry”

If it were true that the porn industry is a safe and progressive bastion, then why did Pornhub—one of the largest porn sites in the entire world—continue to host and feature Girls Do Porn and its content all the way up until federal charges were filed in spite of a civil lawsuit and requests to have the content removed beginning long before the federal charges came into the picture? If it were true that the porn industry is a safe and progressive bastion, then why is content from trafficked children constantly popping up on industry-leading porn sites like Pornhub? If it were true that the porn industry is a safe and progressive bastion, then why does story after story of performers being trafficked into the porn industry continue to be uncovered?

Those defending the pornography industry have attempted to spin a narrative that blames capitalism for the exploitation that runs rampant in its systems. They claim that it’s “the old ways of mainstream porn and work-for-hire through studios” that lead to abuses and exploitation like those described by Christopher Gregory, an ex-producer for the mainstream porn company Hustler, wherein women are given drugs and alcohol on set, coerced to have unprotected sex, and encouraged to have abortions. If the greed of capitalism were removed, porn apologists claim, then the porn industry would become a virtual utopia of consensual sexual delight as people create and distribute their own content free from exploitation.

Reality exposes the truth.

In reality, adults and children alike are exploited, abused, and trafficked to create porn and “reputable” porn sites like Pornhub host that content.

Law enforcement officials recently discovered 58 pornographic videos online that featured a trafficked teen girl and at least some of those videos were hosted on Pornhub. The men who trafficked and exploited this minor weren’t from “mainstream porn” and, contrary to what the porn industry would have you believe, real-life stories like hers are not anomalies.

The porn industry and its apologists, when faced with stories such as the ones mentioned above, cry foul and declare they are being targeted with a false narrative that only serves to impune those who perform porn under an “independent business model” that cuts out the traditional power brokers of porn and supposedly “empowers” the performers directly. However, even in this model, it’s impossible for anyone to know when pornographic content involves a victim of trafficking even when the content appears to be self-created. More and more cases are cropping up where victims—adults and minors alike—are coerced and manipulated into creating pornographic content of themselves by way of “sextortion,” a criminal act wherein exploiters use a variety of methods to groom and trick victims into providing them with illicit content and then subsequently blackmail their victims into creating more.

What’s more, we’ve talked directly with several 15-year-old girls who survived sex trafficking and reported that girls were often forced to perform sex acts and nude dances as if fully independent and consenting even though their trafficker stood off-camera the entire time. Again, far from being an anomalous example, abuse and exploitation such as this—often referred to as cyber-sex trafficking—are inherent in the webcamming section of the porn industry.

As if all of the above isn’t enough evidence to understand the inherent interconnection between the porn industry and the sexual exploitation, abuse, and trafficking of women, children, and marginalized individuals, there is also the reality being uncovered by research that porn increases the demand for sex trafficking far beyond the walls of its industry.

Not to mention the research-backed links between pornography and child sexual abuse or the other public health harms of pornography to consumers and beyond.

Blurred image of a young child in a bed surrounded by stuffed animals as a somber commentary on the prevalence of child sexual abuse images
Child Sexual Abuse Images Are Flooding the Internet and (Almost) No One is Fighting Back

The porn industry would love for the public to believe it is a reputable industry that harms no one and only features fully-willing performers. This is not reality.

In reality, the porn industry and its massive profits are built upon sexual objectification, abuse, trafficking, and exploitation of all kinds.

The data and the research expose this as reality.

Producers who have come out of the porn industry expose this as reality.

Performers who have come out of the porn industry expose this as reality.

Regular people and their stories of abuse and exploitation expose this as reality.

Children and their stories of abuse and exploitation expose this as reality.

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Jake Roberson

headshot of Jake Roberson

Creative Director and Public Relations Manager

As a creative director in charge of public relations and digital strategy, Jake’s work with the National Center on Sexual Exploitation is to expose and subvert the complex web of sexual exploitation’s interconnectivity by leveraging digital mediums as a means for developing relevant tactics to reach, engage, convert, develop, and activate new allies for the fight to end sexual exploitation in all its forms.

Prior to his work with NCOSE, Jake spent five years running social media strategy for a large international nonprofit where he led content and marketing efforts that generated over $22 million in ROI from earned media value in the social media space, ideated creative campaign concepts that raised over $6 million in donations, brought in six figures worth of donation revenue from Facebook alone during his last three fiscal quarters there, and turned social media into one of the organization’s top three most-used resources.

When his work-life balance is well-balanced, Jake spends his time with his wife and four children by unsuccessfully attempting to convince them to enjoy his favorite hobbies (pickup sports, pop culture, and podcasting) in the few spare moments that aren’t filled with tending to their dreams, passions, and fights over who established possession over the toy first.

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