A lawsuit that seeks class-action status has been filed in federal court in California by a team of law firms intent on putting the brakes on purveyors of child pornography.
Filed on behalf of an unidentified victim, the case seeks to establish rules to identify anyone uploading child porn and to require media companies profiting from such porn to disable suspect videos.
The case, on behalf of “Jane Doe” and “others similarly situated,” names as defendants WebGroup Czech Republic, WGCZ Holding, WGCZ Limited and other related organizations as well as individuals Stephane Michael Pacaud and Deborah Malorie Pacaud.
The lawsuit in federal court in Los Angeles was filed by the National Center of Sexual Exploitation Law Center, which was joined by five other “survivor-focused” litigation teams.
“Jane Doe represents the class of numerous victims who, as children, had their child sexual abuse images published and monetized by this online international pornography company, the center said.
“Plaintiff Jane Doe, using a pseudonym in litigation to protect her safety, is a victim and survivor of childhood sex trafficking. Videos of her childhood sexual abuse were sold, published, and distributed on websites owned and operated by XVideos, which commercially monetized the images. This violates the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, among other laws,” the center said.
Dani Pinter, senior legal counsel of the center, said XVideos “not only violated the law by hosting Jane Doe’s child sexual abuse material, it profited from her abuse given that each image and video of her was monetized.”
“This cannot be allowed to stand and remain unchallenged. Victims of childhood sexual abuse such as Jane Doe unequivocally deserve justice,” Pinter said.
The center said XVideos “boasts that it has 200 million daily visitors and 6 billion daily impressions on its various websites from which it has consolidated production and distribution. As of January 2021, XVideos is the most frequently visited pornography website in the world and the 7th most trafficked website in the world, visited more than Netflix, Amazon, and Wikipedia, with over 3 billion visits a month.”
Jane Doe was trafficked and sold for sex as a child, and many of the acts were recorded and uploaded by XVideos.
“At least four videos that included Jane Doe being trafficked as a minor have been identified on WGCZ sites. At least one ‘content partner’ and official ‘channel’ on XVideos disseminated these illegal videos of Jane Doe’s rape. This ‘content partner’ continues to be a promoted channel on XVideos,” the case charges.
However, no one verified Jane Doe’s identity or age. Instead, the companies “profited financially” from the videos’ repeated exposure.
“Jane Doe has courageously stepped out to share her story to help other victims of XVideos,” Pinter said. “We stand ready to help others who have experienced similar abuse at the hands of XVideos or any other WGCZ entities. It is time to end this pornography company’s abuses and egregious violations of the law.”
The complaint accuses the defendants of benefiting from a sex trafficking venture, receiving and distributing child pornography, violating a requirement to report child sexual abuse material and violating California’s unfair competition law.
“The defendants, on their websites, created, organized, and disseminated images and videos that depict child sexual abuse, often referred to as child pornography. Each of these images and videos are crime scenes the defendants monetized,” the filing charges.
“The defendants conspired, facilitated, and financially benefited from participating in what they knew or should have known were sex trafficking ventures. In these ventures, Jane Doe and other minors were trafficked and commercially exploited for sex, in violation of law.”
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