On Monday, a federal court in California sentenced Girls Do Porn performer Ruben Andre Garcia to 20 years in jail. Garcia had previously pled guilty to federal counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion, as part of the ongoing federal case against the company.In 2019, Girls Do Porn owners were found guilty of intimidating and coercing 22 women into having sex on camera. Garcia and the other producers bullied the women and lied about how widely they’d distribute the videos. Garcia was the male performer in the majority of the videos, though his face never appeared on camera.After telling the women that the videos would only be distributed abroad and to private collectors, they appeared on the Girls Do Porn website. The videos also reached millions of viewers after Girls Do Porn uploaded then to Pornhub and other porn tube sites, where women were often doxed in the comments. The doxing in turn led to the women being harassed at their jobs and schools. Multiple women said the harassment was so vicious, they've contemplated suicide.Garcia’s sentencing took several hours to finish. More than 20 anonymous women gave impact testimony detailing how Garcia and Girls Do Porn had hurt them.Girls Do Porn founders Michael Pratt, and associates Matthew Wolfe, Garcia, and Valerie Mosers were charged with federal counts of sex trafficking in November 2019. Pratt fled and is still at large. The FBI placed him on its Most Wanted List as is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.Garcia originally pled not guilty to all charges but changed his plea to guilty in 2020. The FBI published a full account of his plea, which detailed Garcia’s admissions. According to the admission, Garcia and his co-conspirators blocked doors with furniture when women tried to leave. They also “threatened to sue them, cancel their flights home, or post the footage that was already filmed online, which, unbeknownst to the victims, was going to happen anyway.”
The U.S. Department of Justice press release regarding the guilty plea stated:
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of Michael James Pratt. Individuals with information about Pratt should contact their local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.
Count 1 (charging all defendants)Conspiracy to Commit Sex Trafficking by Force, Fraud and Coercion, 18 U.S.C. § 1594(c)Maximum Penalty: Life in prison, $250,000 fine, and a special assessment of $5,000 under 18 U.S.C. § 3014.Count 2 (Pratt)Production of Child Pornography, 18 U.S.C. § 2251(a) and (e)Minimum penalty: Fifteen years in prison; Maximum penalty: 30 years in custody, $250,000 fine, and a special assessment of $5,000 under 18 U.S.C. § 3014.Count 3 (Pratt)Sex Trafficking of a Minor by Force, Fraud and Coercion, 18 U.S.C. § 1591(a)(1) and (2)Minimum penalty: Fifteen years in prison; Maximum penalty: life in custody, $250,000 fine, and a special assessment of $5,000 under 18 U.S.C. § 3014.Counts 4 (Pratt, Wolfe, Garcia), 5 (Pratt, Garcia), 6 (Pratt, Wolfe, Garcia), 7 (Pratt, Garcia, Gyi), 8 (Pratt, Garcia, Gyi)Sex Trafficking by Force, Fraud and Coercion, 18 U.S.C. § 1591(a) and (b)(1)Minimum penalty: Fifteen years in prison; Maximum penalty: life in custody, $250,000 fine, and a special assessment of $5,000 under 18 U.S.C. § 3014.
18 U.S. Code § 1591 - Sex trafficking of children or by force, fraud, or coercion(a)Whoever knowingly—(1) in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, recruits, entices, harbors, transports, provides, obtains, advertises, maintains, patronizes, or solicits by any means a person; or(2) benefits, financially or by receiving anything of value, from participation in a venture which has engaged in an act described in violation of paragraph (1),knowing, or, except where the act constituting the violation of paragraph (1) is advertising, in reckless disregard of the fact, that means of force, threats of force, fraud, coercion described in subsection (e)(2), or any combination of such means will be used to cause the person to engage in a commercial sex act, or that the person has not attained the age of 18 years and will be caused to engage in a commercial sex act, shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).(b)The punishment for an offense under subsection (a) is—(1) if the offense was effected by means of force, threats of force, fraud, or coercion described in subsection (e)(2), or by any combination of such means, or if the person recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided, obtained, advertised, patronized, or solicited had not attained the age of 14 years at the time of such offense, by a fine under this title and imprisonment for any term of years not less than 15 or for life; or(2) if the offense was not so effected, and the person recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided, obtained, advertised, patronized, or solicited had attained the age of 14 years but had not attained the age of 18 years at the time of such offense, by a fine under this title and imprisonment for not less than 10 years or for life.(c) In a prosecution under subsection (a)(1) in which the defendant had a reasonable opportunity to observe the person so recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided, obtained, maintained, patronized, or solicited, the Government need not prove that the defendant knew, or recklessly disregarded the fact, that the person had not attained the age of 18 years.(d) Whoever obstructs, attempts to obstruct, or in any way interferes with or prevents the enforcement of this section, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for a term not to exceed 25 years, or both.(e)In this section:(1) The term “abuse or threatened abuse of law or legal process” means the use or threatened use of a law or legal process, whether administrative, civil, or criminal, in any manner or for any purpose for which the law was not designed, in order to exert pressure on another person to cause that person to take some action or refrain from taking some action.(2)The term “coercion” means—(A) threats of serious harm to or physical restraint against any person;(B) any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; or(C) the abuse or threatened abuse of law or the legal process.(3) The term “commercial sex act” means any sex act, on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person.(4) The term “participation in a venture” means knowingly assisting, supporting, or facilitating a violation of subsection (a)(1).(5) The term “serious harm” means any harm, whether physical or nonphysical, including psychological, financial, or reputational harm, that is sufficiently serious, under all the surrounding circumstances, to compel a reasonable person of the same background and in the same circumstances to perform or to continue performing commercial sexual activity in order to avoid incurring that harm.(6) The term “venture” means any group of two or more individuals associated in fact, whether or not a legal entity.