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How the French porn industry is trying to regain its virginity

[Article translated with DeepL from French source: https://www.francetvinfo.fr/societe/pornographie/enquete-comment-l-industrie-pornographique-tente-de-se-refaire-une-virginite_6466868.html]

“Since the “French Bukkake” scandal shattered the pornography industry, a number of X-rated film production studios and broadcasters have made ethical commitments. However, our survey in collaboration with Capital shows that they are far from being respected everywhere.

In the study of his home in the south of France, the tripods and projectors of John B. Root, director and actor of pornographic films for 30 years, are covered in dust. He stopped shooting two years ago, disgusted by the legal cases that have tainted his professional sector. “It’s not porn that’s gone ‘#MeToo’. It was the police who made porn ‘#MeToo'”, he stormed when he met Radio France’s investigative unit.

A fake procuress

At the end of 2020, several press articles announced the arrest and indictment of four men for rape, procuring and trafficking in human beings, including the actor and director of X-rated videos, Pascal Ollitrault, alias Pascal OP. At the time, he was quite well known in the industry. He gave interviews on Dorcel TV and in the specialist press. At the time, he was the head of “French bukkake”. For ten years, until its closure in 2020, this site offered, for a fee, to view and take part in bukkake scenes, where dozens of men ejaculated on a single woman. Some screenshots from its Twitter account show hooded men in an arc in a shed, waiting for a woman to shoot the scene.

By looking into this man, the investigators uncovered a scheme he used to recruit female participants. In 2016, I was contacted on social networks by a young woman called Axelle Vercoutre,” explains a complainant, Amélia* (first name changed), in an interview with France Culture. She explained that she was an escort and that it was fun to sleep with strangers”. This virtual friend promised her easy money and discretion if she took part in an escorting evening and then in intimate videos. In financial difficulties, Amelia gave in to the temptation.

But behind this pseudonym, Axelle Vercoutre, hides a man. A flatterer who passes on the women’s details to Pascal OP. Dozens of complainants told the same story to the investigators. The shootings that followed went badly. Several complainants said they had not been warned about certain sexual practices they were about to undergo. They sometimes objected. Nor did they know the number of partners. They were only paid in cash if they signed contracts in which they ceded their image rights in all media, even though Pascal OP had promised them discreet distribution abroad. The police initially turned a blind eye. “I was flabbergasted to see that some of these women had lodged rape complaints as early as 2015 and that they had been told it was a commercial dispute”, says journalist Robin d’Angelo, who wrote Judy, Lola, Sofia et moi (Goutte d’Or, 2018), a book about the filming, two years before the affair broke.

Around fifty complainants

The Gendarmerie’s Paris research unit will finally be re-examining these complaints and viewing hours of footage. Videos in which women cry, complain and ask for the sexual act to be stopped. In extracts from the court file, to which Radio France’s investigative unit was able to gain access, text message exchanges between Pascal OP and other defendants show that he was rushing to shoot the scenes before the women discovered his subterfuge over a more exposed broadcast than planned. “For the sexual acts, everything was explained beforehand. I admit that I didn’t say everything for the broadcast. But not for the filming,” he explained to the examining magistrate during one of his hearings.

In the end, 17 defendants – actors, directors and producers of X-rated videos – will be indicted. This April 2024, the courts will have to decide whether the case should be referred to an assize court for acts of torture and barbarism, or to the criminal court for rape, aggravated procuring, human trafficking, money laundering and concealed work. “It would have been interesting to hear from other players in this industry, including the broadcasters, to really understand how it works,” says Dylan Slama, lawyer for one of the defendants.

Broadcasters caught up in the scandal

The scandal will also have consequences for distributors of pornographic content. This is the case for Union, Jacquie et Michel and even Dorcel. Defendants such as Pascal OP, Mat Hadix, Oliver Sweet and Rick Angel worked with them and supplied them with hundreds of videos. “We’re applying precautionary measures,” explains Grégory Dorcel, CEO of the company of the same name. In other words, some videos have been withdrawn from the catalogues. “This is a risk for us because we are contractually committed to distributing these videos, even though no legal decision has been taken”, says Dorcel’s boss.

A risk, but also a precaution, because broadcasting videos of rape is punishable under the Criminal Code (article 227-24). And the company cannot confirm that it has never had any in its offering. We have only broadcast videos in which Pascal OP is an actor,” explains Grégory Dorcel. None where he is a producer. As far as we know, he has only been implicated in shootings where he was in charge of production.

However, Radio France’s investigative unit found that Pascal OP shared his shoots with another producer, Mat Hadix, to get the participants to shoot as many scenes as possible in as little time as possible. The two men swapped roles, one acting for the other and vice versa. The broadcasters claim not to have been aware of this practice. “After the cases came to light, we took the initiative of removing the videos of the incriminated producers,” the editor of the Union website, who asked to remain anonymous, wrote to us. “We could not condone this behaviour, even though we are not aware of any complaints concerning a video that we broadcast”.

New “good practice” charters

Today, these companies are asserting that they have put good practices in place. Dorcel now has a six-person viewing committee. It also entrusted an actress-director, Liza Del Sierra, with the task of drafting an ethical charter, which was published in April 2021 (PDF file), with the help of a sociologist and a lawyer. “It implies respect for consent at all levels”, explains Liza Del Sierra. In particular, the charter requires independent producers who supply videos to Dorcel to hire an intimacy coordinator on set to obtain the free and informed consent of participants. It also requires a minimum salary of 400 euros per scene and the sending of a work plan with details of the sexual practices accepted or not, at least 14 days before filming. “We have to tick boxes on forms to say what we don’t want to do”, explains one actress.

These forms are being extended every year to include new practices, such as strangulation and the recent use of nylon. “We didn’t pay enough attention to those who didn’t want to make pornography their profession. As a result, we now have 50 women in court”, storms Liza Del Sierra. We’ve given ourselves until 2025 to ensure that 100% of the studios we distribute respect an equivalent charter,” says Grégory Dorcel. At the moment we have 39%”.

But some industry insiders have serious reservations about the effectiveness of these charters, which are mainly promoted by women directors and actresses, despite the fact that it is still men who produce the most films. “They are ‘feminist washing’. We know that women are presented as the director of the film even though they have no interest in the script, the camera or the shooting”, explains a professional who confessed to us that he had credited his partner as the director of his own X-rated film a few years ago at the request of his distributor. “They wrote this to clear their name, but it’s a bit late,” adds director John B. Root.

A privacy coordinator who is both judge and jury

Our survey shows that these charters do have their limits. For example, we met several privacy coordinators who were double-hatted, as they were also actresses on the shoots. “There aren’t many well-trained coordinators”, explains director Anoushka, and “it’s up to the production to pay them”, she adds. It’s impossible to specifically hire someone at 500 euros a day when you only have a budget of 45,000 euros, like that allocated by Canal Plus to make its latest X-rated film. “At Dorcel, they have their intimacy coordinator for their own production. But when you audit yourself, that’s not ideal either,” she adds. She and other directors are calling for productions to set up an independent fund to hire trusted third parties on location.

Actress Carolina Cherry also found that these charters are poorly applied when she shot twice for Dorcel productions last year in Budapest, Hungary, including with a Hungarian intimacy coordinator. “With 24 hours to go, they changed my programme, adding an anal scene. I discovered that this additional scene was broadcast on a label I didn’t know”. She complained to the group’s director of content. “They paid me for the extra scene. But someone younger or less comfortable would have let it happen without saying anything”. Grégory Dorcel claims to have no knowledge of this dispute. However, his communications department later told us that “on certain shoots, the same scene is sometimes shot in two versions: one with a traditional cinema camera and the other with a subjective camera”. A method of working that was eventually abandoned.

Other broadcasters such as Union do not impose privacy coordinators on the producers whose content they buy. But: “We systematically ask them to provide us with a video before and after filming, in which the actors and actresses confirm that the scenes that have just been filmed were done with their consent”, the editor-in-chief of the Union site wrote to us. “Consent isn’t just before and after the scene. It’s being asked all the time”, says Paloma Garcia Martens, an intimacy coordinator in audiovisual fiction and traditional cinema. In her view, the purpose of these videos is above all to protect the production, not to obtain free and informed consent. On a shoot,” she explains, “an intimacy coordinator needs to be able to say no to the director, while at the same time proposing solutions so that he can still carry out the scene he wants.

Jacquie et Michel in turmoil

The Arès group, which owns the Jacquie et Michel brand, was the first to draw up a guide to good practice. Just after Pascal OP’s indictment, it published a deontological (PDF file) and ethical charter applicable to all employees and content creators for their various labels: JM, JM Elite, Hot Vidéo and Colmax. The charter is designed to enable French producers to assure the Arès group that they have taken all necessary measures to ensure the full consent and protection of all parties involved, particularly women, in the production of works for its platforms.

We interviewed several participants in Jacquie et Michel shoots. None of them had received this charter at the time. “I was shocked by the behaviour of Eddy, one of the actors I was with on a shoot in 2021. We were supposed to do a fake photo, and he sat me right on his genitals,” she says. Eddy Blackone is an actor under investigation who has been cited in numerous testimonies in the French Bukkake case. Several of the women mentioned that he attempted to rape them off-camera in the shower after the scenes. In an exchange of text messages, a director who was also prosecuted, MatHadix, talks about him with Pascal OP: “Eddy: he does that to all the girls in the shower,” the file states. With bullshit like that, we could end up with a complaint for rape”.

The actor was finally arrested in October 2021, after having filmed with several professional productions, including that of Nikita Belluci, an actress and director who is now a spokesperson for an industry that wants to be more ethical. I’d been denouncing the practices of Pascal OP and others for a long time,” she explains, “but for Eddy, I’ve never heard anything. Eddy still has his actor’s file on the Jacquie et Michel website, but no one wished to respond to our requests. As for the actor’s lawyer, he is reserving his answers for the courts and points out that his client is presumed innocent.

Contentious videos still online

Despite these findings, in April 2022, at a Senate hearing before the Women’s Rights Delegation, Vincent Gey, Director of Operations for the Arès Group (which owns Jacquie et Michel) defended the seriousness of its charter. “Unannounced checks are carried out on film shoots”, he explains. “If the slightest breach is detected, our collaboration will be terminated”, he explains. He admits, however, that only one person is assigned to these checks, despite the fact that his company broadcasts over a thousand scenes a year.

Two months later, his boss, Michel Piron, the founder of Jacquie et Michel, was indicted for complicity in rape and trafficking in human beings as part of an organised gang, casting huge doubt on his company’s alleged good practices. Some of its broadcasters are distancing themselves. Canal Plus is suspending the Jacquie et Michel TV channel from June 2022. Last February, Colmax TV was also suspended. However, Michel Piron’s son, Thibault Piron, and his content director Germain Chicot set up a new company called Aramis. Now, in Canal Plus’s VOD offerings, we have identified several films shot for the Arès group in 2021 and now credited with the name Aramis.

When asked about a possible resumption of commercial relations with the creators of Jacquie et Michel, the Canal Plus communications department replied: “To the best of our knowledge, no more Jacquie et Michel content is present on the services published by the Canal+ Group (on-air channels and VOD offer)”. Since we contacted them, we have noticed that the films we had found on Canal+’s VOD service are no longer available.

But it shows that it is difficult for broadcasters to guarantee that good practice is being followed in a vague sector where the protagonists also operate under pseudonyms. “Today, new entities have been created. We’ve taken videos from Jacquie et Michel, but we’ve just cut the scene at the moment of the signature line. When we say: ‘Thank you, who? Thank you Jacquie et Michel!” concludes an industry professional.”

[Article translated with DeepL from French source: https://www.francetvinfo.fr/societe/pornographie/enquete-comment-l-industrie-pornographique-tente-de-se-refaire-une-virginite_6466868.html]

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The porn industry in the defendants’ dock

[Translated from Swedisch article]

Alyssa Ahrabare from the French organisation Osez le féminisme explains how they managed to prosecute traffickers and pornographers in a historic French court case.

Next year in Paris, the owner of a porn site will be prosecuted. It is a historic case involving 40 victims and three organisations as civil parties (Osez le féminisme, Mouvement du Nid and Les Effronté-es). It is a victory for the women’s movement, and especially for us in the Osez le féminisme group, which has pursued the issue and is a civil party to the case. Osez le féminisme (“Dare to be feminist”) is an organisation that provides holistic support to over 40 victims in both cases, including legal assistance, psychological trauma therapy, and social support, with a team of 30 lawyers, two specialist psychologists and a social worker.

The prosecution covers a range of charges: rape, prostitution and human trafficking.1 The subject of the prosecution is the French website ‘French Bukkake’, owned by Pascal Ollitrault (known as Pascal OP), which posts extremely violent pornographic videos. According to a report by the Haut Conseil à l’égalité entre les femmes et les hommes (Equality Council), these cases are the norm rather than the exception, and the pornography industry benefits from widespread impunity to minimise “serious violations of human dignity”.2

The preliminary investigation was launched in 2020, and investigators soon discovered that many complaints had been filed across France for several years, but had not been followed up. In the course of their work, the investigators uncovered a system of sexual exploitation for the purpose of rape, and a judicial investigation was opened for ‘gang rape’, ‘aggravated trafficking in human beings’, ‘aggravated pimping’, ‘money laundering’, ‘concealed labour’ and ‘distribution of recordings of images relating to the execution of a deliberate attack on the integrity of a person’.

The survey revealed the grim reality of ‘Bukkake’ films. Paying subscribers were invited to participate in gang rapes based on a particularly dehumanising scenario: many men penetrated a woman (sometimes over 80 times in less than two hours) before collectively ejaculating on the victim, who was displayed on a pallet as a commodity. 500 men were identified in the investigation. Ordinary men, porn consumers who were invited to rape and torture women on camera. They have not yet been prosecuted.

The French Council for Gender Equality published a report this year on the criminality of the pornography industry, including the testimonies of victims.3

The investigation related to the “French Bukkake” case has revealed a well-organised strategy to capture victims. A man named Julien D. targeted women on social networks. He approached them under a fake female profile called “Axelle Vercoutre” and, using the myth of “happy and lucrative prostitution”, convinced them to try becoming “luxury escorts”. He then posed as a buyer, met the women and raped them. Raping victims in order to exert control over them is a common practice used by pimps and traffickers.

After the rapes, Julien D. encouraged the women to try being in pornographic films that would only be shown to limited audiences abroad. They were to go to a specified address where several days of horror ensued. The producer, Pascal OP, at first seemed nice, with the intention of forcing their consent and recording it. Subsequently, the complainants report that they were raped on camera, humiliated and tortured by filming degrading scenes. Hair analysis also shows that some of them were drugged without their knowledge.

Women were also deceived when they asked for videos posted online to be deleted.4) Victims report significant psychological difficulties after the filming. Some tried to take legal action as early as 2017, but the police did not act: warnings in Toulouse, Brignoles, Les Andelys and Reims (where Julien D. lived) were not followed up.5

At the end of the investigation in July 2023, seventeen people (producers, directors and actors) were charged with rape (often committed as part of a group), human trafficking, aggravated pimping, and hidden labour. and concealed labour.6) Several have been in preventive detention since 2020.

The trial will be held in summer 2024.7

As a result of the evidence highlighted by the investigation, the French Senate has produced a report entitled “L’Enfer du décor” (Hell behind the curtains).8

The findings clearly show that pornography is a system of violence against women. Subsequently, a resolution was signed by 255 senators (making it the most signed senate text of the French Fifth Republic) stating that the fight against pornographic violence should be prioritised. The resolution was unanimously adopted in a public session on 1 March 2023.

For the civil parties in the cases, every step of the way is a struggle. Plaintiffs do not always have the money to travel to Paris for interviews, hearings and expertise on the case. Many are traumatised and live in very precarious situations due to the physical and psychological effects of the violence they suffered. Moreover, the films are still available online. Despite countless attempts, it has proved impossible to have them deleted.

Many women are threatened or are recognised and harassed on the street. They experience both a social death and an ongoing fear that loved ones, families or colleagues will accidentally see the films. The difficulties they go through make it extremely difficult for more victims to come forward. This exposure highlights a failure of the justice system for women who are victims of violence.

Ultimately, the word pornography hides an organised global criminal system. In the videos we can see real people being subjected to humiliating and degrading acts, such as ejaculation on the face, spitting on the face, urinating or defecating on the victim.

This kind of violence is the norm: it’s what the industry calls ‘mainstream’ porn, with content showing extreme violence where women are bound, whipped, strangled to suffocation, beaten… Women are muzzled to force them to keep their mouths open and are orally penetrated without restriction. Women are given electric shocks. In any other context, this is considered torture. However, in this context, it means that international criminal networks that could be held accountable under the existing legal framework can get away with offences in the name of freedom of expression.

EU Member States, including France and Sweden, are using the “freedom of expression” argument to limit the potential protection of women and girls from online violence, particularly the non-consensual sharing of intimate images, in the proposed directive on violence against women and girls currently under discussion in the EU institutions.

The EU Council of Ministers, representing the “interests” of the Member States, has included amendments to Articles 7 to 10 of the proposed directive aimed at tackling online violence against women. These amendments significantly limit the criminalisation of non-consensual use of intimate images, stalking and expression of hatred online.

The condition of ‘serious harm’ to the victim was added, as was the condition that the offence be ‘public’, meaning that acts in private groups or forums and online pay sites will not be included. Finally, both the reasoning and legal text now state that criminalising these types of online sexual violence must be balanced with freedom of expression, academic considerations, art and science.

Freedom of expression is not an absolute right. The European Convention on Human Rights states that it can be restricted in a democratic society for legitimate purposes, such as protecting the rights and reputation of others. In the case of defamation lawsuits against survivors of sexual violence condemning the perpetrator, freedom of expression is not used as a shield. This highlights a very dangerous paradigm shift of both approach and culture.

Traditionally, the law only protects speech that is consistent with a humanistic social contract, not hate speech. In European legal culture, freedom of expression was traditionally a right that protected the weak against the strong. This right is now mobilised in the war against women.

Pornography is an attack on the fundamental rights of all women. Violence is a natural part of its economic function as the content must constantly “surprise and shock” the consumer.

Pornography has been condemned and fought in every wave of the fight for women’s rights. After the women’s liberation movement of the 1970s, feminist movements gave a voice to victims who testified about rape, kidnapping, violence and sexual trafficking. We have known this for decades. It is high time to fight. It is happening now. What we are seeing is a systematic, global violence that requires a global resistance.

As a general policy response, we call for the reaffirmation of the fundamental principles on which our society is based: the rejection of hatred and violence, and an explicit respect for human dignity. Unlimited freedom for pornocrats means trampling on the rights of the most vulnerable and discriminated against in our society.

In France, decision-makers, especially senators, have been crucial to the progress achieved so far. It takes courage to take a stand against something that has become so normalised. We expect Swedish decision-makers to be brave too. It is time for Sweden to stand on the right side of history in this matter as well.

Source: https://www.parabol.press/porrindustrin-pa-de-atalades-bank/

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Sexual assault against the backdrop of tantric yoga: a guru arrested in France

Guru and/or sexual predator? 

Gregorian Bivolaru  was arrested and then indicted in France. In total, 15 people were indicted, including six imprisoned, following this raid. They are suspected of being involved in large-scale sexual violence within an international yoga movement accused of sectarian excesses.

“Behind the promise of controlling erotic energies, the Atman yoga school, present in around thirty countries, is suspected of having pushed hundreds of young women into orgies or into non-consensual relations with their ‘spiritual leader'”, writes Libération , which co-signed with RFI a long investigation into this issue.  

Gregorian Bivolaru, 71, of Romanian and Swedish nationality, has just been arrested in France. He is the founder of Misa, (Movement for Spiritual Integration towards the Absolute), an international group, presented as focused on the practice of yoga, a group known today as Atman.

Arrested in a house in Ivry-sur-Seine, a suburb of Paris, it was in his home that he allegedly practiced ” sexual initiations”  of tantric yoga, a practice which promises to achieve ecstasy of the body and the mind.

He was indicted for four offenses: aggravated rape (in conjunction with several other rapes committed against other victims), kidnapping by an organized gang, human trafficking by an organized gang, abuse of vulnerability by the leader of a group pursuing activities that create, maintain, or exploit the psychological or physical subjection of participants. 14 other suspects were also indicted. Several women are among them. 

In total, forty-one people were placed in police custody, among them reportedly “important leaders” of the sect in France, specifies a source close to the investigation. A gigantic dragnet led by the Caimades (assistance and intervention unit in matters of sectarian aberrations), the OCRVP (Central Office for the Repression of Violence against Persons), under the direction of a judge Parisian education. Some 175 police officers were mobilized for this large-scale operation.

In 2013, this “conspiracy theorist” was already convicted in absentia in Romania for rape of a minor. Accused of pedophilia and human trafficking – which he denies – he is wanted by Interpol for “trafficking in women”.

Women under influence

Twenty-six women, several of whom were under influence, were released during the arrests. These “victims, taken from the sect, were housed in cramped conditions and deplorable hygiene” , specifies the judicial source.

This intervention follows a report, at the end of July 2022, from Miviludes (Interministerial Mission for Vigilance and the Fight against Sectarian Abuses) to the Public Prosecutor. This organization had received information from the Human Rights League reporting 12 reports from former members of Misa.

According to a judicial source, Misa, renamed Atman during its expansion outside Romania, taught tantra yoga, with the aim of “conditioning victims to accept sexual relations via mental manipulation techniques aimed at removing any notion of consent. Many women of different nationalities say they have been victims of the actions of the Misa organization and its leader.

The Paris public prosecutor’s office opened a judicial investigation in July 2023, for various offenses including kidnapping in an organized gang, a crime punishable by 30 years in prison, abuse of vulnerability in an organized gang by member of a sect, rape or human trafficking humans in organized gangs.

Hundreds of followers

The Misa has many yoga schools and other branches. This group encouraged female victims “to accept sexual relations with the leader of the group” and/or to “engage in pornographic practices paid for in France and abroad”.

As early as 2008, Misa was excluded “from the International Yoga Federation and the European Yoga Alliance for its commercial practices deemed illicit”, recalled the judicial source, who also underlines that it has already been the subject of a procedure in Italy.

“It is difficult to quantify the number of followers” ​​in France, but “it’s several hundred people” . According to the judicial source, “the investigations revealed a compartmentalized organization, following a usual procedure in matters of organized crime.”

An ashram that became a sexual prison

“The aim of the courses was to have people participate in sexual and/or physical activities (…) in conditions allowing at this stage to characterize the offense of trafficking in human beings,” the same judicial source further specifies. “The people who stayed there denounced having been forced to pay for their stay for the women by engaging in sexual video chats, and for the men through manual labor,” she added.

“An ashram was clearly exclusively dedicated to satisfying the desires of the principal accused”, Gregorian Bivolaru, “women were taken there from other establishments, and placed on hold in a first accommodation” .

It’s an “insane case, with a group resembling the mafia, pimping under supposedly philosophical trappings “, a source close to the case recently commented to AFP.

Source: https://information.tv5monde.com/terriennes/agressions-sexuelles-sur-fond-de-yoga-tantrique-un-gourou-interpelle-en-france-2677428

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Sex Trafficking of Women for the Production of Pornography

Donna M. Hughes
Co-founder, Citizens Against Trafficking

Women used in the production of commercial pornography in the U.S. are often subjected to
violence and coercion during filming. Often they protest and try to stop the filming or back-out
before filming begins. Their protests are ignored or they are pressured by their agent or the
director to continue. Their experiences of coercion and trickery often meet the criteria for sex
trafficking.


Sex trafficking is a federal felony. Sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation,
provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act which involves force, fraud,
or coercion, or in which the person involved has not attained 18 years of age. Sex trafficking is
punishable by up to 20 years in prison or life in prison if there are aggravating circumstances.
Since the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) in 2000, almost all federal sex
trafficking cases have involved prostitution. The use of adult victims in the production of
pornography has not been investigated. I believe this is an area that needs much more
attention by activists and law enforcement.


In cases of sex trafficking involving minor victims there have been numerous accompanying
charges for production of child pornography because the perpetrator has taken naked images
of the victim. To be a federal crime, the perpetrator does not have to use the images for
commercial purposes, nor is there a need to prove that force, fraud or coercion were used
because the victims are minors.


For our purpose, we are interested in demonstrating that there is sex trafficking of adult
women (over the age of 17) in the production of commercial pornography in the U.S.


I reviewed the testimonies of women used in the production of pornography to see if their
experiences met the criteria for sex trafficking. Several of these testimonies came from the pornography industry. She is now working to assist other women to escape pornography and hold the sex industry accountable for the harm it does to women

Force or Coercion


If any force or coercion is used to compel a woman to engage in a sex act that is filmed for
commercial purposes, that meets the legal criteria for violation of federal law. This
interpretation of the TVPA was first used in a BDSM (bondage and sadomasochism) case in
which the perpetrator, “slave master” Glenn Marcus filmed the torture of a victim and placed it
on his subscription-based web site. The Supreme Court upheld the forced labor and sex
trafficking conviction on May 24, 2010.

Most women entering the pornography industry don’t know what they will be subjected to.
Like most victims of sex trafficking, they need money and are looking for opportunities. The
agents, directors and producers take extreme advantage of these often naïve young women.
Their first experience making commercial pornography is often brutal and traumatic.
Madelyne knew nothing about the business or what was required, but was eager to make
money because she was broke and in debt.


She was “terrified” when she arrived at the studio to shoot her first scene. She said, “I tried
backing out and wanted to go home and not do porn at all.” She was reminded that she had
signed a contract so she couldn’t back out. “I was threatened that if I did not do the scene I was
going to get sued for lots of money.” “I experienced rough sex scenes and have been hit by
male talent [pornography actors] and told them to stop but they wouldn’t stop until I started to
cry and ruined the scene.”


She told the agent that she had “no limits” on what
she would do. Later, she said she had no idea what that meant. She signed a one year contract.

Madelyn’s description of her experience qualifies as coercion. Even if a victim initially consents
to sexual activity, she always has the option of withdrawing her consent and the activity should
stop. If her wishes are ignored, sex trafficking is occurring.

Alexa wrote: “My first movie I was treated very rough by 3 guys. They pounded on me, gagged
me with their penises, and tossed me around like I was a ball! I was sore, hurting and could
barely walk. My insides burned and hurt so badly. I could barely pee and to try to have a bowel
movement was out of the question.” 7


Sierra Sinn wrote: “My first scene was one of the worst experiences of my life. It was very scary.
It was a very rough scene. My agent didn’t let me know ahead of time… I did it and I was crying
and they didn’t stop. It was really violent. He was hitting me. It hurt. It scared me more than
anything. They wouldn’t stop. They just kept rolling.”8


Both Alexa and Sierra Sinn’s experience describe the use of force in the production of
pornography. If the women protested or asked the actors or directors to stop and they did not,
this qualifies as force and is sex trafficking.


Preying on Drug Use or Addiction is a Form of “Non-violent and Psychological
Coercion”

The William Wiberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 added a new
type of coercion that can be used in sex trafficking cases. Preying on a victim’s drug use or
addiction (whether pre-existing or created by the trafficker) will, in and of itself, form the basis
for convicting traffickers under the TVPA.


Many testimonies of women used in the production of commercial pornography describe their
drug and alcohol addictions and how the pornographers manipulate them.
When Madelyne wanted to back out of doing her first pornography scene, in addition to being
threatened, “I ended up taking shots of vodka to get through it. …Porn producers provided
alcohol and drugs for me.”


Madelyne added: “As I did more and more scenes I abused prescription pills which were given
to me—anything I wanted–by several Doctors in the San Fernando Valley. I was given Vicodin,
Xanax, Norcos, Prozac and Zoloft. The doctors knew I did porn but still gave me any prescription
pills I wanted. All I had to do was tell them I needed them to get through hardcore scenes. … In
preparation for a scene in which multiple men ejaculated on Madelyne’s face, which she didn’t
want to do, “One of the crew members offered me vodka and beer.”

“My agent forced me to use a driver because he knew I was always wasted. About 75% of the
women who make porn have to have drivers because they’re addicted to drugs and alcohol.” 10
When Madelyne could not longer perform in porn scenes because “No one wanted to hire me
because of my drug and alcohol problem was out of control,” her agent suggested she go into
prostitution and stripping.
Madelyne suggested that the doctors might be receiving kick-backs from the pornography
producers.

According to Alexa: “There was always alcohol and drugs readily available on the sets….
Whatever you wanted, they would or could get it. In fact, the set I worked on for two videos,
the stars had their own ‘doctor’ with them! I would see the doctor giving out pills or giving …
injections.”


As anti-sex trafficking activists, we should be pressing the Department of Justice and the U.S.
Attorney in California to investigate the sex trafficking of women for the production of
commercial pornography by preying on victims’ addictions.


Fraud

If a person is compelled to engage in a commercial sex act (which includes the filming of
commercial pornography) through fraud she is a victim of sex trafficking. Using fraud means
tricking someone into doing something she didn’t anticipate.
Madelyne wrote: “The worst scene I ever did was during my first couple weeks in the business.
The agent who handled all my bookings called me the day before the scene and said it would be
similar to a solo masturbation scene. Then he added that there would also be about 10-15 guys
masturbating to me and ejaculating on my body. In the pornography industry this type of scene
is known as a ‘Bukakke.’


He said it would be quick and easy money. When I arrived I saw a
massively long line of men outside the studio. I recognized very few of them….most of them
were strangers I had never seen before.”Once inside the studio Madelyne learned that the men
lined up outside had been recruited by an ad in the LA Weekly to come and ejaculate on a
young porn actress’s face. She called her agent and protested, saying there were at least men waiting for the scene. “My agent told me that I had to do it and if I can’t, he would charge me and I would lose any other bookings I had because I would make his agency look bad.


These actions to compel this woman to make pornography constituted both fraud and
psychological coercion.


Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking Online Petition on Sex Trafficking in
the Pornography Industry


More anti-trafficking organizations and activists are investigating and raising awareness about
sex trafficking in the production of commercial pornography. The Florida Coalition Against
Human Trafficking has launched an online petition urging FBI Director Robert S. Mueller and
Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. to investigate the pornography industry for use of sex
trafficking against women and girls in the production of pornography. (The full text of the
petition is in the appendix.)


Women used in the production of pornography are victims of sexual violence and coercion.
They deserve the attention and support of anti-trafficking activists and law enforcement. In
your work to educate others about sex trafficking, remember to discuss sex trafficking in the
production of pornography.

NATIONAL PETITION TO INVESTIGATE
POSSIBLE LINK BETWEEN TRAFFICKING
AND THE PORNOGRAPHY INDUSTRY


WHEREAS, Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking (FCAHT), through evidence
uncovered during research and investigations, has identified potential sex trafficking
victims inside the pornography industry.

FCAHT has found indicators that:

  • teen girls, boys and women are being recruited into the pornography industry
    with fraudulent promises of legitimate jobs at exaggerated pay rates;
  • once these victims are recruited and arrive at the trafficking destination, they
    are being held there by means of debt bondage, physical force and psychological
    coercion;
  • their pay for work performed is given directly to their “agent” or trafficker and
    these debts are deducted before any money, if any remains, is given to the
    victim;
  • the victims are given the “choice” to perform “privates”, which is illegal
    prostitution, to pay off their debt;
  • if the victim attempts to leave and/or speak out against the industry, they are
    physically and emotionally threatened to hold them captive and to keep them
    from seeking help with law enforcement agencies;

WHEREAS, the United States has identified the above actions to be indicators of sex
trafficking which is illegal per the United States Trafficking Victims Protection Act and
Reauthorizations of 2003, 2005 and 2008;
WHEREAS, the pornography industry is a legal industry inside the United States and as
such, must submit to the laws of the TVPA and Reauthorizations of 2003, 2005 and
2008;
WHEREAS, spokespersons for the pornography industry have openly admitted in public
forums that they do not follow the laws of the United States;
WHEREAS, the pornography industry, in the United States alone, produces 89% of the
entire world’s hardcore pornography websites with earnings between $2.8 – $13 billion a
year, making it is one of the most profitable industries in the United States;
WHEREAS, FCAHT takes the stance that these indicators should be evaluated for
further awareness and possible action;
THEREFORE, I add my name and voice to those of countless American citizens calling
upon our United States Government to immediately join with the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking in efforts to end the exploitation and trafficking of teen children and women in the pornography industry and stop modern-day slavery in the 21st century.

Specifically, I call on FBI Director Robert S. Mueller and Department of Justice Attorney
General Eric H. Holder, Jr. to:

  1. Initiate an investigation of these indicators to determine if, in fact, sex trafficking is
    taking place inside the pornography industry and, if so found, to take possible legal
    action against the pornography industry per TVPA and Reauthorizations provisions.
  2. Work with the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking to establish and enforce a
    human rights-based code of conduct, including zero tolerance for forced labor,
    servitude, debt bondage and illegal commercial sex acts within the pornography
    industry in America.

Source

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French porn industry ‘systemically violent’ say Senators in scathing report

The French pornography industry systematically uses violence against women, according to a report presented Wednesday by four French Senators, after six months of auditions following several high-profile arrests of producers and directors.

The Senators want the issue to be taken seriously by the public, and for the government to make the fight against the “commodification of bodies” a political priority.

The aim of the report, which the authors titled ‘Porno: hell behind the scenes’, is to “alert the government and public opinion about violence perpetuated and spread by and in the pornography industry, as well as on the sexist, racist, homophobic and unequal representations that it generates.”

The four Senators, from four different political parties, started their mission in February after several porn actors, directors and producers linked to the video platform French Bukkake were arrested as part of a larger investigation opened in October 2020 into human trafficking, gang rape and pimping.

Three other men were arrested in Paris on Tuesday in connection with the probe.

Violence ‘not faked’ on screen

The Senators – Annick Billon, with the UDI centrist party, part of President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling coalition; Socialist Laurence Rossignol; Alexandra Borchio-Fontimp with the centre-right Les Republicains; and Communist Laurence Cohen – found that online pornography has become increasingly violent, and it is being seen by younger and younger people.

“Sexual, physical and verbal violence are massively widespread in porn,” write the authors, who say it is systemic. The violence is “not faked, but very real for the women being filmed.”

The report says the line between ‘professional’ and ‘amateur’ pornography producers has been blurred with the advent of new platforms that allow people to upload their own videos.

The result, they say, is a free-for-all for producers, who often recruit economically and psychologically vulnerable young women to coerce them into doing acts on camera they might not otherwise agree to.

Some producers will force women to sign contacts ceding their image rights in perpetuity, forcing them to pay “between 3,000 and 5,000 euros, or ten times what they obtained to film the scene” in order to take them down.

And even then, once the images are out on other streaming platforms, they are “almost impossible to remove, preventing these women who were filmed to excersie their ‘right to be forgotten’”.

Of the report’s 23 recommendations, one is to impose on platforms the obligation to respond directly to removal requests from the people filmed, and not just from the owners of the videos.

Scepticism of ‘ethical’ pornography

The two major French pornography platforms, Dorcel and Jacquie et Michel, said in November 2020, after the first revelations of the investigations into the French Bukkakhe case, that they were willing to put in place ethics codes.

Others in the industry have talked about contracts detailing what sexual practices particapants are willing to do or not do.

But the Senators dismissed such proposals as window-dressing for a deeper problem of violence that needs to be addressed more systemically.

“Faced with the systemic extent of pornographic violence, and given the nature of sexual consent that can be reversed at any time, these ‘marketing’ measures do not convince the authors,” they write, adding that productions with more respectful practices are rare in the consumption of pornography today.

Protecting kids

Beyond violence on sets and onscreen, the Senators also focused on who is watching pornography and how it “normalises sexual violence of women”.

According to the report, two thirds of children 15-years-old and under, and one third of those under the age of 12 have been exposed to pornographic images, voluntarily or involuntarily, and each month, nearly a third of boys under the age of 15 visit a pornographic website.

Often the first introduction to sexuality for children, pornography “builds an eroticisation of violence and domination relations, which become norms,” the authors write, adding that it “multiplies and encourages sexist, racist and homophobic stereotypes”.

A large number of recommendations focus on the issue of age verification for pornographic websites, which has proven to be legally tricky, even as several French associations have filed lawsuits against the major platforms.

Only 18+ allowed

A law passed in July 2020 requires pornographic websites to put in place age controls, but the Arcom media watchdog in charge of enforcing it has been ignored by the major sites, including Pornhub, Tukif, Xhamster, Xvideos and Xnxx.

The Senators would like to see Arcom given more power to register infractions and impose “dissuasive” sanctions.

Currently, agents must first get a legal ruling to be able to order Internet service providers to block sites in France that do not put in place age limits.

Another focus for children should be better sex education in schools to address issues of pornography.

Since 2001, primary, middle and high schools are required to provide at least three sessions a year on relationships and sexuality, but the report highlights the fact that the law “is absolutely not applied.

Students often receive just a few science classes dedicated to teaching reproduction” at the end of middle school.

Parents have pushed back and schools have not put in place adequate programmes, but the Senators say it is important to teach about sex and relationships instead of letting children learn it from pornography.

Ban pornography?

Early on in the audition process for the report, the Senators met with members of feminist organisations that fight against pornography and prostitution.

France has generally had a rather abolitionist approach to prostitution, making pimping and solicitation illegal, but not banning it outright.

Throughout the audition process, the Senators drew links between prostitution and pornography, but do not go so far as calling for banning pornography.

However, they write: “wishing to open everyone’s eyes on the global system of violence against women, the authors question the existence itself of the pornography industry”.

And yet, with some 19 million people visiting French pornography sites each month, the public and political debate will not be so much on banning, but creating a framework in which productions come under more scrutiny, and distribution platforms take more responsibility for who sees what.

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French prosecutors want porn violence suspects to stand trial

French prosecutors have indicated that they want 17 men to stand trial over allegations of rape and other crimes committed in the production of online pornography.

Accusations against the men include rape, gang rape, organised human trafficking and aggravated pimping, committed during video production for the French Bukkake platform, according to prosecution documents.

The prosecutors’ call for a trial comes almost a year after French police made several arrests as part of a wider investigation into violence and human trafficking in France’s pornography industry.

The accused include the top manager of the platform, his associate, a talent recruiter and around 10 porn actors, the source said.

Vulnerable women

It is now up to two judges in charge of the investigation to decide whether the trial goes ahead.

Prosecutors believe the recruiter lured young, economically vulnerable women into participating in the filming of the videos in the full knowledge that they would be subjected to “aggravated rape”, according to the document.

Investigators believe the women were told the videos would only be accessible on private Canadian websites.

In fact, the films were viewable in France and the producers demanded large sums of cash from the women to remove them – only for the images to continue to circulate online.

Prosecutors said alcohol and drugs were commonplace during the shoots.

Female actors told prosecutors that they had not been warned before going on set of the type of sexual acts expected of them.

“Sexual acts were performed on them without warning, without them being able to comprehend them, and therefore without being able to give their consent,” the document said.

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VICTORY: The Senate against pornographic violence!

This Wednesday, March 1st, the Senate voted a resolution calling for the fight against pornographic violence to be made a public policy priority. We welcome this awareness and this salutary vote and invite the government to finally act.

On September 28, 2022, the Delegation of Women’s Rights of the Senate published a report entitled: “Porn, the hell of the decor”. After months of hearings, the findings are clear. The pornographic industry is a pimp industry in the most total illegality, which commits sexist and sexual violence on an industrial scale.

Multiple lawsuits, all over the world, are multiplying. In France, the producers are under investigation for rape, aggravated pimping, human trafficking, or acts of torture and barbarism. Dozens of women are speaking out to demand justice. Pornhub is accused in the USA of knowingly distributing child pornography.

The pornographic industry, which represents 27% of online videos, broadcasts millions of sexist, racist, pedocriminal and homophobic videos. Women are humiliated, violated and tortured.

Following this report, Senators Annick BILLON, Alexandra BORCHIO FONTIMP, Laurence COHEN, and Laurence ROSSIGNOL have decided to propose an ambitious resolution asking the government to make the fight against pornographic violence a public policy priority.

The resolution states:

“that the exploitation and commodification of women’s bodies and sexuality have become an industry on an international scale that generates several billion euros in profits each year” ;

“that pornographic contents are today accessible to all and to all, without any control of the proof of majority of the Internet users, in violation of the penal code;

“that these contents convey sexist, racist and homophobic representations, constituting criminal offences”;

“that the broadcasters, platforms and social networks, knowingly ignore their responsibilities;

“that pornography is a place of learning about sexuality by default, which generates a distorted and violent vision of sexuality, traumas, early sexualization and the development of risky behaviors”;

“that the numerous illicit contents published are never completely removed, even after they have been reported”.

This resolution calls for a collective awareness and asks the government to act, starting with an interministerial plan to fight against pornographic violence, and in particular by reinforcing the means at the penal level.

This text was presented by more than 250 signatories, including 7 group presidents, gathering a record number of co-signatures in the Senate under the Fifth Republic, thus showing a strong transparent consensus on this central issue.

We welcome the Senate resolution, voted unanimously yesterday. We demand that the government, as well as the institutions that are supposed to regulate the digital world, finally become aware of the absolute priority of the fight against pornographic violence. Pornography is the school and the legitimization of sexist and sexual violence. We firmly denounce the reluctance and refusal to act of ARCOM, the CNIL and PHAROS. Their responsibility is great in the persistence of the impunity of the pornocriminal industry.

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Actor and producer Rick Angel taken into custody in massive rape case

16/11/2022 – 15h51To share:

According to information from the Parisian, Guillaume F., better known as an actor and producer in the world of porn under the name Rick Angel, was placed in police custody in the “French Bukkake” case. Passed by Sciences-Po Grenoble, he had also worked as an adviser to the Ministry of the Interior.

Rick Angel.26 février 2014.Paris.Michela Cuccagna©

The “French Bukkake” affair continues to gain momentum. Since 2020, French justice has been investigating cases of rape in the pornography world for aggravated human trafficking, gang rape or even aggravated pimping. Since the start of the investigations, sixteen men have been indicted, including the producer “Pascal Op”, but also various actors or directors. This Tuesday, November 15, a new personality was arrested by the police.

According to information from our colleagues from Parisian , actor and producer Rick Angel has been taken into custody. While living for several months in South America, Guillaume F. of his real name gave himself up to the authorities. He is accused by several women of ” having imposed on them unplanned violent sexual practices during the shooting of his films “. Another element reproached to Rick Angel: he would have made the alleged victims believe that they were filming sequences which would only be broadcast abroad, when they were actually broadcast in France. Questioned by Le Parisien , a producer is particularly critical of Guillaume F. “I hate him, like Pascal Op, he lacks respect for women, full of gossip, pans. I never wanted to work with him. I don’t want to see it up close or from afar ,” he said.

Guillaume F. had played a role in French politics. Trained in particular at Sciences-Po Grenoble, he had landed a post as adviser to the Ministry of the Interior, while Michèle Alliot-Marie (UMP) was in place. He had to leave his post after colleagues discovered his activities in the pornographic world.

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Jacquie and Michel: A former ministerial adviser who became a porn actor, involved in a dark affair

Published on June 28, 2022 – 1:40 p.m.

Control, rape and violence: we are far from the bonhomie claimed by the amateur porn site Jacquie et Michel. In the sights of justice, the boss is faced with sordid stories by several women revealed in “Le Parisien” and in “Le Monde”. A name also surfaces, that of Rick Angel, porn actor, formerly ministerial adviser…

Presented as a human-sized business of amateur porn under the sign of good humour, another face of Jacquie and Michel is revealed in this month of June. The details of the charges revealed by Le Parisien paint a very bleak picture of Michel Piron’s success story . In Le Monde , the stories are also shocking. Some plaintiffs have delivered their experience, far from consented debauchery. Corinne’s story is one of them and involves a former UMP adviser who was under the tutelage of Michèle Alliot-Marie, known as Rick Angel…

Recently divorced, Corinne, mother of two children, was manipulated ten years ago by a “lover boy” named Bastien, a recruiter who seduces emotionally fragile women to train them in prostitution or pornographic filming like ” proof of love”. His romantic date turns into a nightmare, reports Le Monde : ” On the platform of Montparnasse station, Michel Piron is waiting for him with Rick Angel, former technical adviser to the Ministry of the Interior at the time of Michèle Alliot-Marie, become a porn producer. As soon as she gets off the train, they film her, make her show her underwear in front of everyone. Arrived at the hotel, Corinne asks to contact Bastien, she wants to wait for him. Michel Piron reassures her,

The situation degenerates in the room, Corinne asks to leave but Michel would have caught up with her. ” Michel’s wife intervenes to tell him that Corinne is in pain” , specifies Le Monde. She stays alone at night, terrified. Then the video is put online without her having been paid, her professional entourage recognizes her in it and she loses permanent custody of her children. “ My brother called Michel Piron to tell him that I had lost everything because of him, that I had suicidal thoughts ,” she says daily.

Who is this Rick Angel? It is the stage name of a former ministerial adviser under Nicolas Sarkozy , a graduate of Sciences-Po Grenoble in 1996, adhering to the RPR. Very careerist, he rose through the ranks until he received a call from Alain Marleix’s chief of staff in 2008 who ” announced to him that they had discovered [his] porn films and that this posed a problem for Michèle Alliot -Marie, [his] supervisory minister [Minister of the Interior from 2007 to 2009]”, we read in The Obs . Which led to his dismissal three days later and the end of all political activity since, to devote himself to porn as an actor and producer.

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Porn Industry Commits Extensive Trafficking, Rape, and Exploitation, French Senate Report Reveals

A report by the French Senate emphasizes that “sexual, physical and verbal abuses are widespread in porn, making them systemic. They are not simulated but very real for the women who are being filmed.”

Trigger warning: The following article contains descriptions of abuse and exploitation that may be disturbing to some. Reader discretion advised.

The porn industry in France is being called out for massively exploitative and abusive business practices—here are the details.

Four French senators recently presented an incriminating report on the porn industry titled “Hell Behind the Scenes,” sparking a movement many are calling a #MeToo moment for the porn industry—and it’s a big deal, to say the least.

Related: Four French Porn Performers Charged with Rape, a First for France’s Adult Industry

The 150-page report shines a spotlight on the horrific conditions some porn performers are subjected to, the volume of pornographic content accessible to all, as well as the sexual violence perpetrated and conveyed by the mainstream porn industry—particularly its normalization of abuse against women. The senators say the porn industry is “predatory” and linked to “modern slavery.”

The report also calls for action by public authorities, making several recommendations to address the issue (more on that later).

Systemic violence against women

Interviews and testimonies from performers, sociologists, organizations, and numerous others in the report make it clear that since the emergence of widely accessible, mainstream porn sites like Pornhub in the mid-2000s, the vast distribution of porn has “contributed to an upsurge in increasingly violent content, without any control or consideration for the conditions in which this content is produced.”

The report paints a bleak picture, but one that’s important to be more widely known by the public. It calls out a system that “generates systemic violence against women, both those who find themselves in these productions and those who suffer from the sexuality modelled on the norms of violence conveyed by porn.”

Related: How Porn Can Fuel Sex Trafficking

As the report describes, there are “absolutely no rules or checks, not even regarding the use of condoms” and mainstream porn sites offer categories that include rape, with unambiguous keywords like “anal surprise,” “unintended facial,” “torture,” and “kidnapping.”

Clair Charles, a spokesperson for Les Effronté.es, says that these categories, and particularly those related to “confinement” aren’t pretend. Referring to videos available online, she said, “When the woman cries, she really cries.”

The report authors emphasize, “Sexual, physical and verbal abuses are widespread in porn, making them systemic. They are not simulated but very real for the women who are being filmed.”

In other words, there are very real rape videos and real videos of abuse on porn sites everywhere.

Ongoing investigations of the The French “amateur” porn industry

The French Senate report is timely with recent buzz over the last two years about France’s biggest ever trial over sexual violence—a moment of reckoning for the French “amateur” porn industry and it’s predatory, abusive practices.

This is the first time that porn performers in France have been charged with rape. Several investigations are ongoing—specifically targeting the “amateur” porn site “Jacquie et Michel” and also the platform “French Bukkake.”

So far, at least 50 abuse victims have been identified.

Just last month three actors and a director were taken into custody for aggravated human trafficking, gang rape, and aggravated pimping in the “French Bukkake” investigation which began in October 2022. Authorities have allegedly uncovered evidence of extensive abuse of vulnerable women subject to sexual violence and coerced into performing sex acts on and off camera by actors, directors and producers—in large part, an effort to satisfy consumer demand for an endless supply of new actresses and graphic video content.

group of gender equality associations in support of the Senate’s report commented on the “French Bukkake” trial, saying, “These legal proceedings reveal the barbarity, violence, sexist and racist hatred of the French pornographic industry.”

Police investigations found evidence in multiple online videos of women protesting against sex acts they were then forced to perform. Khadija Azougach, a Paris-based lawyer specializing in violent crime and spokesperson for Lawyers 4 Women, says, “They were forced to do things without their consent because, it seems, there was a demand for this type of film… We can’t describe them as fictional films because the women in them were subjected to rape.”

He continues, “Some girls have said they were illegally confined, others say they were fed dog food. [The perpetrators] did everything they could to make the girls even more vulnerable and to wield power over them.”

In the “Jacquie et Michel” investigation, four men, including the site owner Michel Piron, are being accused of pimping, organized human trafficking, rape and accessory to rape, and rape-involving torture.

The young victims, many of whom were aspiring actresses, were interviewed by the senators for the French Report. They described being “ideal prey” in a calculated recruitment system by means of false Facebook or Instagram profiles.

One young woman explained, “We are spoken to every day. The person presents herself as an escort, she tells me that it’s wonderful, that it’s magic, that she has money… Behind this false profile of a girl, there was a man.”

“They knew I had money problems. I was the ideal prey for them, that’s how you get in there… I needed the money right away. I had to pay my bills and rent or I’d lose my flat.”

Investigators say the women were lured into participating under false pretences—like being told the videos would only be accessible on private Canadian websites, then later discovering they were viewable in France. Producers demanded large sums of cash (between €3,000 and €5,000) when the women requested the videos be taken down. And for those who did pay, their images continued to circulate online.

By legal definition, this is sex trafficking.

One woman described being forced into sex acts that left her in pain, another was allegedly coerced and forced to engage in a sexual act with a man who was not wearing a condom—the man lied about testing negative for sexually transmitted diseases and actually had herpes, the woman said.

Other women recounted multiple experiences where they were forced by directors to accept scenes that were not discussed or agreed upon prior to filming.

The French Senate’s recommendations

The report urges 23 recommendations for public authorities, including ways to help prevent minors from accessing porn like age verification requirements on devices and imposing fines on porn sites accessible to minors, strengthening legal means to better protect performers, and the facilitation of deleting online videos.

The report also emphasizes that although two-thirds of young people under the age of 15 have already been “heavily exposed” to pornographic content, education is still crucial—that the “commodification of bodies” and pornography should be addressed in schools as part of education on sexual and emotional health.

The Senate’s report found that out of an average 19.3 million individual visitors to adult sites per month in France, 12% are minors.

Professor Neil Thurman from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany says, “The technology [to keep minors from accessing porn sites] is reasonably well advanced. It’s just that porn sites don’t want to reduce their numbers by putting on a block on visitors if they don’t absolutely have to.”

Report authors said they aim to alert the government and the broader public to the massive scale of this issue, and the “massive, ordinary and toxic” viewing of porn by children despite French law requiring viewers to be at least 18 years old.

Annick Billon, a co-author of the report and president of the senate’s delegation, said, “We must stop having an old, distorted, watered-down view of porn. Porn today includes violent, degrading, humiliating contents… Scenes in which a man, most often several men, up to 50, are inflicting physical and sexual abuse to women have become standard.”

Be part of the solution

Questions arise about how effective attempts to block access to porn sites by minors could be. It can be pretty simple to circumvent restrictions. Plus, 30% of French 15 to 17-year-olds find pornographic content through social media, which would not be restricted.

Dr. Emily Setty, senior lecturer in Criminology at the University of Surrey, UK, emphasizes that requiring age verification on sites like Pornhub isn’t enough, and that a lot of the ways young people are exposed to sexually explicit content without any sort of intentional act on their part won’t be blocked.

She goes on to say that, “In some places the thinking goes that it’s not porn that’s the problem, but children’s access to it. Whereas what France is trying to say is there’s something deeply problematic about the porn industry itself.”

What’s happening in France is a reality check that while performers—particularly women—have long been portrayed and assumed as consenting to all of the content they’re in, that this simply isn’t the case.

Sexual exploitation can have many forms, and when you become familiar with the actual definition of sex trafficking by the TVPA— “a commercial sex act induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age”—it opens your eyes to just how predatory the porn industry really is.

Presumably consenting performers are too often anything but. Consent can never be assumed. In fact, sex trafficking most commonly happens when performers are coerced, forced, and manipulated to endure more for a scene than they were initially informed about or agreed to. And, as the investigations in France are revealing, performers are even blatantly abused, dehumanized, and degraded to the level of commodities to be consumed.

The fact is, exploitation happens in every country, in every corner of the world—France isn’t the only place where the porn industry needs to be under investigation. This is a global issue that can negatively affect performers, viewers of all ages, society as a whole, and impacts how we as humans interact with one another in various relationships.

Each area of the world is part of the problem, and can also be part of the solution. A great place to start is at the core of the issue: holding the industry accountable. When it comes to sharing the facts and giving a voice to those who have been victimized by the industry, we’re here for it—are you?

Article from FightTheNewDrug

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