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Hundreds of online porn victims awarded $18 mn, video rights in US

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San Francisco, Dec 16 (IANS) In an online sex trafficking case impacting hundreds of victims, including young women seeking modelling work, a US judge has granted the rights to videos and images to the victims, along with ordering one of the adult film producers responsible for the crime to pay approximately $18 million to the victims in damages.

US District Judge Janis L. Sammartino ruled that all rights to videos and images produced in the GirlsDoPorn and GirlsDoToys sex trafficking case be awarded to the hundreds of victims who are featured in the footage posted on the adult websites, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) said in a statement late on Wednesday.

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The judge issued the ruling as part of a restitution order in the prosecution of Ruben Andre Garcia, an adult film performer and producer who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for conspiring with the owners of the GirlsDoPorn (GDP) and GirlsDoToys (GDT) adult websites to recruit young women to appear in the sex videos using force, fraud, and coercion.

In addition to granting the rights to the videos and images to the victims, Judge Sammartino also ordered Garcia to pay approximately $18 million in restitution to the victims. Garcia will also serve 20 years in prison.

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“Garcia, aka “Jonathan,” has no right to use, publish, or otherwise exploit GirlsDoPorn (GDP) or GirlsDoToys (GDT) images, likenesses or videos,” the ruling read.

Garcia has admitted to participating in a scheme from 2013 to October 2019 to use “force, fraud, and coercion” as tactics to make young women “engage in commercial sex acts,” according to the DoJ.

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Originally, women responded to adverts for clothed modelling work and were then told they would be paid between $3,000 and $5,000 for one-day, anonymised adult video shoots.

Along with Michael James Pratt, Matthew Isaac Wolfe, Theodore Wilfred Gyi, Valerie Moser and others, Garcia lied to women, promising that the videos produced would not be published online and their participation would be concealed.

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest of Pratt who is the leader of the gang.

“This is an extremely important ruling that returns power to the victims by giving them control of the images and videos that caused them so much pain and suffering,” said Acting US Attorney Randy Grossman. “We hope this helps the victims close a difficult chapter in their lives”.

–IANS

na/dpb

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