Screenshot via Twitter
Michael James Pratt, the man responsible for organizing the elaborate sex trafficking scheme and website Girls Do Porn, which forced and coerced potentially hundreds of women into having sex on camera, was arrested in Spain on Friday.Spain’s National Police Corps released a video of Pratt’s arrest on Twitter.
The tweet doesn’t name Pratt, but says that the man in the video is a New Zealander on the FBI’s top 10 most wanted list; Pratt made it to the top 10 in September, with a $100,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. According to news outlet El Español, Pratt was hiding in Madrid, and checked into a hotel in the center of the city on Wednesday using one of his many false identities.
The owners and operators of Girls Do Porn were charged with federal counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion in 2019. Pratt and his associates filmed hundreds of sex scenes with young women between 2012 and 2019, luring them to their San Diego-based shooting under the guise of “modeling” gigs and fast cash. Many of the women testified that they weren’t told until they arrived on location that it was a porn shoot; some said they were trapped in the rooms and brutally abused, portions of which were edited out of the final videos.Pratt and his co-conspirators also promised many of the women that their videos would only be seen by “private collectors” in faraway countries like New Zealand, and that their communities at home would never see their sex scenes. This was a lie; Girls Do Porn uploaded the videos almost immediately to the internet, to massive tube sites including Pornhub, which in many cases ruined their lives."Personally, I'm happy they found him. But I'm even happier for all of his victims,” Brian Holm, attorney for the victims in the civil trial, told Motherboard. “Bringing Pratt to justice will bring the closure they need to heal. Christmas came a bit early this year."The FBI declared Pratt a wanted fugitive in early 2020; he’d fled the US in 2019, during a civil trial where he and his associates were accused by 22 women of fraud and coercion. In that trial, a state judge ruled that Pratt and his co-conspirators owed those women $12.7 million in damages. Many of his associates have pled guilty to federal charges and faced convictions since then, including the main performer Ruben Andre Garcia, who was sentenced to 20 years in jail by a federal court in California in 2021, cameraman Theodore "Teddy" Gyi, who pled guilty to counts of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion, and Pratt’s closest co-conspirator Matthew Isaac Wolfe, who also pled guilty to federal trafficking charges in 2022. “The defendant lied and tricked these women, made millions along the way, and left his co-conspirators to face justice while he fled,” Special Agent in Charge Suzanne Turner said in a 2021 press release asking for the public’s help in locating Pratt. “Michael James Pratt is a danger to society, regardless of where he is, and is likely still victimizing people while on the run with his continued lies and false promises.”