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‘Girls Do Porn’ Employees Charged With Sex Trafficking, Potentially Face Life in Prison

The owners and employees of Girls Do Porn are on trial for coercing and lying to women about the way their films would be spread online.

by Samantha Cole
11 October 2019, 2:00pm

Illustration By Emily Bernstein

This article originally appeared on VICE US.

The owners and employees of Girls Do Porn were charged with federal sex trafficking counts Thursday.

The charges are separate from an ongoing civil suit. Girls Do Porn is currently on trial in San Diego, as 22 unnamed plaintiffs—women who appeared in their films—claim that they were lied to about the adult nature of the films, coerced into shooting porn once they arrived on set in hotel rooms, and were repeatedly lied to by multiple GDP employees about where the videos would be distributed.

Although only 22 women are suing Girls Do Porn, their lawyers told Motherboard they've spoken to at least 100 more women who have given similar accounts. Motherboard has previously spoken to several women who say they were coerced by Girls Do Porn.

Women we spoke to say that the way Girls Do Porn mischaracterized the gigs as "modeling," the alleged mistreatment and deception the women endured once they were in hotel rooms, and especially the way the films were distributed all across the internet—including on one of the biggest websites in the world, Pornhub—drastically altered and often damaged their lives

Now, the feds have stepped in. Girls Do Porn owner Michael Pratt, as well as lead videographer Matthew Wolfe and the films' main actor Ruben “Andre” Garcia are charged with sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion. All three, plus administrative assistant Valerie Moser, are charged with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.

If they're convicted, they face a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

On Wednesday night, according to a press release from the Department of Justice, FBI agents conducted a search of the Spreckels Theatre Building in San Diego, where Girls Do Porn had an office. Wolfe, Garcia, and Moser are all located in San Diego, but Pratt is suspected to have fled the country last month—he is officially a fugitive, according to the DOJ.

The civil case of the Girls Do Porn owners has been a years-long ordeal: The trial officially got underway in San Diego Superior Court in late August, after weeks of delays.

Lead trial counsel for the plaintiffs Ed Chapin said in a statement that the legal team isn't sure how this will affect the trial yet, but that they hope it won't delay it further.

"Irrespective of this federal criminal indictment, we are committed to moving forward with the civil trial that has been underway for eight weeks," Chapin said. "We want to get justice for the women that these men harmed as well as damages for the devastating events they lived through and have had to deal with ever since.”

Girls Do Porn has continued to recruit women and operate its business even as the trial is ongoing, and after one of its videographers testified to being directed to lie to women about how their films would be distributed.

According to NBC San Diego, the website and its sister sites allegedly generated more than $17 million in revenue.

Tagged:
porn
FBI
Sex Trafficking
lawsuit