Details of Pornhub Deferred Prosecution Agreement Released

NEW YORK—Aylo, the parent company of Pornhub, has signed a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) to resolve a charge that it profited from sex trafficking by hosting videos produced by the disgraced studio, GirlsDoPorn, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.

U.S. Attorney Breon Peace, of the Eastern District of New York, and James Smith, assistant director-in-charge of the New York Field Office for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said the DPA “holds the parent company of 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.”

"It is our hope that this resolution, which includes certain agreed payments to the women whose images were posted on the company’s platforms and an independent monitorship brings some measure of closure to those negatively affected,” Peace added. “This resolution will not only provide oversight over one of the largest online content distributors in the world and ensure the company’s lawful behavior, but it will also develop industry-wide standards for safety and compliance.”

With the DPA, Aylo is not pleading guilty to any crime, and the government will dismiss its charge against the company after three years, subject to the court’s approval of the agreement and the company’s continued compliance with it.

An independent monitor will ensure that Aylo and its properties will comply with the agreement. The duties and scope of the independent monitor are outlined in the 76-page DPA released by the Department of Justice.

Aylo was also ordered to pay more than $1.8 million to the U.S. government for restitution and to settle lawsuits filed against the company related to the case. Aylo announced the deferred prosecution agreement weeks ago, with its compliance executives expressing "deep regret" for hosting the videos produced by the GirlsDoPorn sex trafficking ring led by Michael Pratt and associates.

For a time, Pratt was placed on the FBI's Most Wanted List after he chose to flee. He ultimately was arrested in Spain. It is believed that he is still held by Spanish authorities and awaits extradition to the United States.

According to the documentation provided by Peace's office, Aylo (formerly known as MindGeek) is charged as an entity for unlawful monetary transactions involving sex trafficking proceeds.

"We were troubled to learn that a production company used criminal means to produce its content and submitted consent documentation that we now know was obtained by fraud and coercion," Aylo management said in its announcement. 

The women who appeared in GirlsDoPorn videos were fraudulently misled by Pratt and his associates, who said that the “modeling” gigs they advertised on Craigslist and other job boards would only be distributed as DVD releases in foreign media markets. Lawsuits filed against GirlsDoPorn revealed that the studio staff also falsified 2257 documentation, which is required to prove someone is of legal age to appear in a pornographic video. The custodian of records was also a false identity.

Correction: Michael Pratt is believed to be in Spanish custody. This is not confirmed, though.