Pornhub parent company fined $1.8 million over sex trafficking charge

Pornhub parent company fined $1
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Pornhub’s parent company, Aylo, is facing a $1.8 million fine plus victim compensation after admitting it made money off of content showing victims of sex trafficking. The company was arraigned in a Brooklyn federal court on Thursday on a charge of “engaging in unlawful money transactions involving sex trafficking proceeds.”

Aylo, formerly known as MindGeek, will resolve the charge by entering a deferred prosecution agreement with the US government. Under the terms of the agreement, Aylo must pay $1.8 million to the US government and compensate victims who appeared on its porn sites. It will also have an independent monitor for three years, which will evaluate Aylo’s “content screening and monitoring processes” and ensure it properly addresses illegal content.

The federal government alleges Aylo “turned a blind eye” to victims of sex trafficking by hosting videos created by GirlsDoPorn, which first appeared on Aylo’s websites, including Pornhub, in 2009. While the operators of GirlsDoPorn were indicted in 2019 for allegedly coercing dozens of women into filming porn, the US government claims Aylo knew about the illegal activity beforehand.

In addition to receiving “several content removal requests” between 2016 and 2019, Aylo also allegedly learned that several women appearing in GirlsDoPorn videos filed a lawsuit against the production company’s owners in 2017. However, Aylo did not “independently verify consent” about the content in question and didn’t start taking down content until after the 2019 GirlsDoPorn trial ended. Aylo also didn’t take action against unofficial GirlsDoPorn content and failed to remove the company’s official channel until 2020, prosecutors allege.

“This deferred prosecution agreement holds the parent company of Pornhub.com 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,” Breon Peace, the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace, said in a statement.

Pornhub and other adult sites are currently facing increased scrutiny from the US government and the European Union. Several states across the US, including Louisana, Mississippi, and Arkansas, have passed laws requiring age verification to access porn sites. The EU has also designated Pornhub as a “very large online platform” under the Digital Services Act, which means it will be legally obligated to comply with strict age verification and content moderation rules.

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