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The parent company of Pornhub, Aylo Holdings, has agreed to pay over $1.8 million to the government following its acknowledgment of profiting from videos hosted by the sex trafficking site GirlsDoPorn, as revealed by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn on Thursday.

Aylo Holdings entered into a deferred prosecution agreement to settle a criminal money laundering investigation, examining whether Pornhub was aware that funds from GirlsDoPorn originated from illicit activities. As part of this resolution, Aylo Holdings is obligated to pay a seven-figure fine and provide restitution to hundreds of sex trafficking victims associated with the website. While the specific details of the restitution are still being determined, prosecutors have indicated that victims may receive a minimum of $3,000 or more.

In addition to the financial penalties, the owners of Pornhub have consented to the appointment of an independent monitor for a period of three years. U.S. Attorney Breon Peace emphasized that the deferred prosecution agreement holds the parent company accountable for its involvement in hosting videos and accepting payments linked to criminal activities that coerced young women into non-consensual sexual acts posted without their consent.

The individuals behind GirlsDoPorn, including the male actor in many videos, enticed young women to San Diego under the guise of modeling opportunities, only to deceive them into filming pornography. Despite assurances that the videos would remain private, GirlsDoPorn published them online, including on platforms like Pornhub.

Several key figures associated with GirlsDoPorn have faced legal consequences, with producer Ruben Garcia receiving a 20-year prison sentence in 2021 for sex trafficking conspiracy charges, and videographer Theodore Gyi sentenced to four years behind bars. Co-owner Matthew Wolfe pleaded guilty to various charges in the previous year and is awaiting sentencing. The other co-owner, Michael Pratt, who evaded authorities for three years, was arrested in December 2022 by Spain’s National Police, and his case is pending.

GirlsDoPorn had promoted its content on Pornhub, claiming “Real amateur girls having sex on video for the very first time… You will not find these girls on any other website — all girls are 100% exclusive — this is the one and only time they do porn.”

Aylo, previously operating as the Canadian company Mindgeek, received over $100,000 from GirlsDoPorn between 2017 and 2019, along with more than $760,000 in advertising revenue from the site’s videos. Prosecutors revealed that Mindgeek officials were aware of legal action taken by women in 2017 but failed to respond to requests to remove the videos from Pornhub.

Mindgeek only began removing the videos in October 2019, coinciding with charges against Pratt, Wolfe, and other conspirators. It took over a year for Pornhub to completely remove all the videos, including those from a second channel called “GirlsDoToys” operated by the same group of sex traffickers, according to court documents.

Notably, Pornhub, facing multiple pending civil lawsuits over allegations of hosting child abuse victims, has made efforts to improve its public image. In March, Ethical Capital Partners, a Canadian private equity firm founded in 2022, acquired Mindgeek, subsequently renaming it Aylo Holdings in August.

Aylo’s chief legal counsel, Anthony Penhale, entered a not guilty plea on behalf of the company for engaging in unlawful monetary transactions involving sex trafficking proceeds. If Aylo adheres to the agreement, this charge will be dismissed after three years. Aylo has stated that it did not engage in illegal activities related to sexual exploitation of minors or child pornography, as the government has not charged Aylo with such offenses. The company asserted its commitment to prioritizing community safety and striving to be a leader in online trust and safety.

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