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Pornhub's parent company admits to profiting from sex trafficking operations
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Pornhub's parent company admits to profiting from sex trafficking operations

The FBI said that Aylo Holdings, Pornhub's parent company, was "motivated by profit" when it came to profiting off of women who were sexually exploited.

Aylo Holdings S.A.R.L. was arraigned on a charge of engaging in unlawful monetary transactions involving sex trafficking proceeds, the Justice Department stated in a press release.

According to the DOJ, Aylo hosted pornographic videos created by a company called GirlsDoPorn, which was indicted in 2019 by a federal grand jury in California for, among other charges, sex trafficking offenses in which the company was accused of "deceiving and coercing young women to appear in sex videos which were then posted online without the women’s consent" in United States v. Pratt, et. al.

Since the indictment, several of the operators of GirlsDoPorn have allegedly been convicted in connection to the prosecution.

The DOJ went on to describe that according to Aylo's admissions and court documents, the company "knew or should have known" that money received from GirlsDoPorn operators came from sex trafficking operations.

"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," said United States Attorney Breon Peace.

The FBI also said that Aylo was "motivated by profit" and "knowingly enriched itself by turning a blind eye to the concerns of victims who communicated to the company that they were deceived and coerced into participating in illicit sexual activity."

James Smith, FBI assistant director in charge, added that "any entity that engages in sexual exploitation will be held to account for the mental anguish and terror imposed on victims."

The DOJ noted September 2017 as an example of an instance when Aylo allegedly learned that many women who appeared in certain videos had filed a lawsuit alleging that they had been tricked and coerced into filming adult videos. Furthermore, the women claimed that the videos were posted to Pornhub.com without their consent.

Aylo allegedly did not independently verify consent and did not remove all the videos that were requested to be taken down. Also according to the DOJ, Aylo removed videos in question in October 2019.

Pornhub has faced heightened scrutiny in 2023, particularly in Virginia, where it was compelled to enforce an age restriction feature on its website.

Rather than comply, the website chose to cease access in the state altogether.

"The safety of our users is one of our biggest concerns. We believe that the best and most effective solution for protecting children and adults alike is to identify users by their device and allow access to age-restricted materials and websites based on that identification," wrote Pornhub. "Until a real solution is offered, we have made the difficult decision to completely disable access to our website in Virginia."

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Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados is a writer focusing on sports, culture, entertainment, gaming, and U.S. politics. The podcaster and former radio-broadcaster also served in the Canadian Armed Forces, which he confirms actually does exist.

@andrewsaystv →