September 25, 2020

STATEMENT – Lawsuit Filed Against Trafficker, Pornography Studios, and Pornography Websites on Behalf of Sex Trafficking Survivor

Washington, DC (September 25, 2020) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) Law Center, the law firms Haba Law, Dicello Levitt Gutzler, have jointly filed a federal civil suit on behalf of sex trafficking survivor Jane Doe against her trafficker known as Cissy Steele (or her alias Cissy Gerald), pornography production companies Diabolic Video Productions, Black Ice Ltd., Zero Tolerance Entertainment, Third Degree Films, and Elegant Angel, Inc., and several online hardcore pornography websites. The title of the lawsuit is Jane Doe v. Cissy Steele, et.al. and it was filed in the United States District Court in San Diego. This is the first federal anti-trafficking lawsuit filed against a pornography producer and online pornography website on behalf of a survivor.

“Jane Doe (using an alias for fear of reprisal) was trafficked into the commercial sex trade, including the pornography industry, by a female sex trafficker, Cissy Steele, who posed as a modeling agent. Doe’s sexual abuse was videotaped by various pornography production companies working in conjunction with her trafficker. The videos were then uploaded for profit by various online pornography websites where her sexual abuse still exist in the digital space today,” said Dani Pinter, Senior Counsel for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

“Doe’s trafficker went to great lengths to manipulate her. Steele provided Doe with a business card, listing her talent agency as ‘Royal Loyalty Management,’ and told Doe that she knew an influential multi-millionaire fashion designer who was looking for models. The fashion designer turned out to be notorious accused multi-millionaire sex trafficker Peter Nygard.

“The trafficker Cissy Steele convinced Doe to move into her home in order to ‘further’ Doe’s modeling career. Using a variety of coercive tools, including illegal drugs, repeated beatings and threats against Doe and her family, the trafficker forced Doe to engage in repeated sex acts with different men at a variety of hotels in California and Nevada, and pornography production studios – where the coerced sex acts were videotaped.  The pornography production companies involved were Diabolic Video Productions, Black Ice Ltd., Zero Tolerance Entertainment, Third Degree Films, and Elegant Angel, Inc.

“The videos of her sexual abuse were then distributed by multiple online pornography websites despite Doe’s lack of consent. These websites profited from the sex trafficking of Doe through advertising and by charging fees for the videos depicting her abuse. Despite her efforts to have the videos taken down, including informing the websites that she was a trafficking victim, these videos remain online and continue to depict Doe’s sexual abuse and exploitation.

“We are eager to get some measure of justice for this survivor of sex trafficking, although we can never undo the immense harm she has suffered. We also hope this lawsuit serves as a warning to sex traffickers, pornography producers, and hardcore pornography websites that they will be held to account,” Pinter concluded.

This lawsuit is the first the National Center on Sexual Exploitation has filed against a pornography website.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center offers survivors of pornography-related abuse a way to seek justice. More information can be found at: https://sexualexploitationlawsuits.com/.

About National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)
Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national non-partisan organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health harms of pornography.

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