PornHub to pay $1.8 million in settlement over sex trafficking allegations

PornHub
Source: CNBC

Montreal-based Aylo Holdings, the company behind adult entertainment websites including Pornhub.com, has agreed to pay $1.8 million to the U.S. government to settle a probe into its connections with an alleged sex trafficking operation, according to federal prosecutors on Thursday.

As part of the deferred prosecution agreement, the U.S. Attorney's office in Brooklyn charged Aylo Holdings, formerly known as MindGeek, with one count of engaging in unlawful monetary transactions involving sex trafficking proceeds.

The charge is linked to Aylo's hosting of content from GirlsDoPorn.com (GDP) and GirlsDoToys.com (GDT), whose creators were charged in California in 2019 for deceiving and coercing young women into appearing in explicit videos.

Aylo, the parent company of well-known brands like YouPorn and Brazzers, received over $100,000 from GDP, funds derived from sex trafficking, as stated in the agreement filed in Brooklyn federal court.

Apart from the $1.8 million settlement, Aylo has committed to compensating victims whose images were posted on its platform and who have not yet been compensated, according to prosecutors.

The agreement reveals that GDP provided information to MindGeek claiming the women in the videos had given consent, although MindGeek failed to independently verify this information.

Solomon Friedman, a partner at Aylo owner Ethical Capital Partners, expressed concern, stating, “It was very troubling for us to learn that a production company was using criminal means to produce content.”

As part of the agreement, prosecutors will dismiss the charge against Aylo after three years, provided the company enhances its compliance protocols. An independent compliance monitor will oversee Aylo's activities during this period.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom approved the settlement at a hearing on Thursday. Prosecutors revealed that hundreds of individuals have been identified as victims of GDP's sex trafficking.

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