A real porn set
A real porn set
Gustavo Turner

Women Being Tricked Into Unpaid Porn Gigs, Industry Warns

Adult video insiders say multiple women have been victimized by a scam in which victims are promised cash and entree to the industry but are ultimately lured into unpaid sex scenes.

The Free Speech Coalition, the Canoga Park–based trade group representing porn's largest producers, recently issued an "industry alert" this week, warning performers of the alleged fraudsters: "A woman is approached, usually by phone, by someone claiming to represent, or have access to, Penthouse or another publication. The person may claim to be a photographer or an agent, or alternately a model who wants to recommend a photographer or agent. Significant money is promised."

The FSC states that victims are lured to Greater Los Angeles via phone — on their own dime — and are promised paying gigs that would compensate them for hotels and expenses. "A deceptive shoot or test shoot takes place at the hotel room, which turns out to involve sex with the photographer. Payment is promised via direct deposit," according to the warning. The con artist departs, and payment never arrives.

The organization states that the alleged scam artists are targeting dancers, models and "sex workers" who might want to get into the porn business.

We reached out to a police official for the city of Orange, where one of the incidents allegedly took place. He was not familiar with the accusations and indicated there probably wasn't much authorities could do even if the suspected scam artists were tracked down.

Attorney Elliott N. Kanter, who handles sex crime cases in Southern California, agreed, saying that California rape law covers coercion by force, violence or threat of violence but not by fraud. This could end up being a matter for civil court, he says: "It sounds like a breach of contract."

Paying for sex is prostitution unless it's done for artistic expression protected under Calfornia's porn law, Kanter said. However, producers are generally supposed to be in possession of film permits. And, under these allegations, no money changed hands.

The scam has also been reported in Florida, New York and Arizona, according to the FSC.

"The Free Speech Coalition is working with Penthouse and the Wayne Foundation, a nonprofit counter-trafficking organization," according to the alert. "We encourage anyone who has been approached or has any knowledge of this scam to report the incidents to local law enforcement. While law enforcement has failed to respond adequately to existing incidents, which may include criminal offenses of fraud, sexual assault and human trafficking, we are working to raise the profile of this situation locally and nationally."

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