The FBI is stepping up its global search for Michael James Pratt, the New Zealand-born pornographer who created the controversial GirlsDoPorn website while living in the San Diego area. This week the FBI announced a $ 10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
Nearly two dozen women sued Pratt and his staff for using fraud and coercion to get them to appear in pornographic videos. The women won a $ 13 million verdict in January, but by the time the verdict was pronounced Pratt appeared to have fled the country.
In the meantime, the federal government accused Pratt of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking through violence, fraud and coercion. Prosecutors later added child pornography charges because at least one of its victims was under 18 years of age.
Pratt attracted his victims by posting ads for dressed model appearances on Craigslist and other platforms. Once a woman responded, Pratt or one of his coworkers offered the women $ 3,000-5,000 to fly to San Diego for a day-long pornography shoot. They falsely promised that videos would only be sold on DVD to wealthy customers outside of the US.
Some of the women said that upon arriving in San Diego, they were physically forced to stay and film their scenes. This is how we described it in January:
Women were picked up at the airport by a GirlsDoPorn employee and supervised throughout their visit. During the filming, they were alone with two or more men they did not know. The men would get excited if the women didn't cooperate; Some women testified that they feared for their safety. Women testified that men stacked devices in front of the door to prevent them from leaving the room.
Three of Pratt's associates, Matthew Wolfe, Andre Garcia and Valerie Moser, were charged with Pratt's sex trafficking conspiracy last October. Only Pratt escaped capture.