A “GirlsDoPorn” Trafficker is in Prison, However the Women He Exploited Aren’t Free from Further Abuse
This article was originally published by USA Today by Laila Mickelwait, Founder/CEO of Justice Defense Fund. It really is reposted here with permission. 4-minute read.
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Disclaimer: Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non-legislative awareness and education organization. A few of the issues discussed in the following article are legislatively-affiliated. Including links and discussions about these legislative matters does not constitute an endorsement by Fight the New Drug. Though our organization is non-legislative, we fully support the regulation of already illegal forms of pornography and sexual exploitation, including the fight sex trafficking.
GirlsDoPorn sentencing is a win for trafficking victims. But justice isn’ t yet fully served.
By Laila Mickelwait
The women faced a dark reality—that for the rest of their lives people would use the crime scene footage of their abuse for pleasure and profit.
Ruben Andre Garcia was sentenced recently to 20 years in prison for participating in a sex trafficking scheme called GirlsDoPorn.
GirlsDoPorn filmed significantly more than 100 women, lots of who had their lives destroyed by Garcia and his cohorts. The women were lied to, Garcia recruited some once they were still underage, and all of them were lured to California through an intricate web of deception.
Garcia’s victims were coerced, defrauded, and forced to participate in recorded sex acts, some of which were violent to the point of drawing blood.
Once they were in the room, Garcia ensured they felt they couldn’t leave. He and his partners used threats of lawsuits, canceled flights home and, in some cases, physically blocked the door therefore the young women could not escape.
Related: “GirlsDoPorn” Recruiter And Performer Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison For Sex Trafficking
After the initial ordeal, the victims’ nightmare was far from over. The videos were heavily monetized and globally distributed on Pornhub, the world’s largest and most popular porn site. Pornhub consistently ranks in the top ten most visited among all the websites in the world, drawing more visitors in April than Instagram, CNN, and Walmart.
GirlsDoPorn was a popular Pornhub partner channel for more than eight years, with 780, 000 subscribers and 670 million views. Pornhub’ s infamous download button, placed on every video, ensured the women would not escape the upheaval, as millions of users around the world had the ability to download the abuse videos and re-upload them at any time in the future—and they did.
GirlsDoPorn’ s victims were doxxed, harassed, and humiliated, plus they felt they had a full-time job they never asked for—trying to get the videos of their trafficking taken off the internet.
It was a demented game of whack-a-mole. As soon as one video was down, a pal or a stranger would notify them that another was up.
The women begged GirlsDoPorn and Pornhub to remove the videos as soon as 2011. GirlsDoPorn was charged with trafficking in October 2019, but a year later, a simple search I conducted for “GDP” on Pornhub returned more than 300 videos and images of the victims.
The women faced a dark reality—the knowledge that for the rest of the lives, people would use the crime scene footage of their abuse for both pleasure and profit.
Related: How To Tell If Someone In A Porn Video Is A Trafficking Victim
Many victims became suicidal
It’s not surprising that many of these women became suicidal. As they faced Garcia at the sentencing last week, all of the women recalled the deep trauma they faced as a result of his actions. Half of them said the widespread proliferation of their abuse videos convinced them death was a better option than living in perpetual pain and humiliation.
One woman stood before Garcia with sutures on her wrist from the recent attempt to end her life, flashing it to the judge as she spoke.
Related: “I Didn’t Know If They’d Kill Me”: What Happened When This Jane Doe Was Trafficked By GirlsDoPorn
Brian Holm, one of the lawyers who has fought for the victims for more than six years, said Garcia’s sentencing was a life-changing moment for the ladies.
“Garcia being held accountable was the validation they need to begin the long healing process before them, ” Holm told me. “In some cases, we’ re talking about women whose parents disowned them because they blamed their daughters for what happened. ”
While the victims may never be fully free of the traumatization they have suffered, among the women, who months before had tried to take her life, told Holm after the sentencing that she has never felt better than knowing Garcia was finally held accountable.
Indeed, justice is redeeming, it is necessary, and it is deeply healing for people who have been abused, but justice has not been fully served yet for these victims and their perpetrators.
Michael Pratt, the main culprit of the trafficking scheme, fled the country and is really a wanted fugitive. And Pornhub executives who are accused of distributing and profiting from the victims’ traumatization have yet to handle civil or criminal consequences.
Garcia’ s sentencing is a groundbreaking moment in the combat sex trafficking, but it’s not a sufficient end to the story. His victims have tasted justice, but they are not done yet with retribution. Fifty GirlsDoPorn victims are actually suing Pornhub, demanding more than $100 million in damages for their pain and suffering.
Related: What’s Going On With Pornhub? A Simplified Timeline Of Events
What does all of this mean for the rest of us? It means we have been now aware that things aren’t always as they seem with regards to online pornography.
Investigation found images of abuse
A year ago, The New York Times exposed Pornhub as a platform for monetized rape, child trafficking sexual abuse, and other kinds of nonconsensual image-based abuse.
For all those of us who worry about the injustice of sexual crime and desire to stand in real solidarity having its victims, our activism must include holding to account all individuals and corporations that participate in exploitation.
Related: 50 “GirlsDoPorn” Sex Trafficking Survivors Sue Pornhub’s Parent Company For Profiting From Their Exploitation
And that includes holding Pornhub executives accountable for the role they played in the GirlsDoPorn trafficking scheme.
That is precisely what the survivors want to do next.
Click here to read the original article on USA Today by Laila Mickelwait.
About the Author
Laila Mickelwait is the founder and CEO of the Justice Defense Fund. Follow her on Twitter: @lailamickelwait.
The post A “ GirlsDoPorn” Trafficker is in Prison, However the Women He Exploited Aren’ t Free from Further Abuse appeared first on Fight the New Drug.