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A federal appeals court has ruled that the largest global pornography website can be prosecuted in the United States for distributing child sexual content – a victory for abuse survivors seeking retribution.

A California woman, named Jane Doe in her lawsuit, sued XVideos.com and its parent company, WebGroup Czech Republic (WGCZ), after she was trafficked and sold for sex. Many of these sex acts were recorded on video and uploaded to the XVideos website.

A lower court said that because WGCZ is an international company, Jane Doe could not pursue legal action on jurisdictional grounds. But the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that ruling, allowing the lawsuit to move forward.

“We are grateful that the court ruled for this courageous plaintiff, as it moves her one more step closer to justice,” said Dani Pinter, senior legal counsel at National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), one of the plaintiffs’ law firms.

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A federal court has ruled that the largest global pornography website can be prosecuted in the United States for distributing child sexual content. (Getty Images)

“This appellate decision is binding precedent for the 9th Circuit and will likely have a significant impact across the United States for survivors,” said Pinter. 

The decision “ensures that foreign websites cannot avoid accountability in the United States, on jurisdictional grounds, when they target the U.S. market and profit from child sexual abuse material of U.S. children,” she added.

Jane Doe is suing the company under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which allows victims a civil cause of action to sue against entities that have profited from child sex abuse material, or CSAM. 

During the time that XVideos distributed and advertised this child sex abuse material, it profited financially through the sale of advertising and by drawing users to its websites to view the videos, NCOSE says.

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The PornHub logo on a smartphone

Adult sites have come under increasing scrutiny with allegations that they insufficiently police their sites to prevent hosting of abusive content, including child pornography. (Nikolas Kokovlis/NurPhoto)

In an interview with Fox News Digital, Pinter said one of the videos of Jane Doe had 160,000 views, and that the United States is WGCZ’s biggest customer. 

The 9th Circuit’s ruling means that Jane Doe’s case demanding damages from the company can move forward, and Pinter says the decision could help both survivors and victims seeking similar. 

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security outside door to federal courthouse

 Security guards stand in front of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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“The implications for this moving forward are really significant,” said Pinter, noting that there are at least five other cases against pornography sites like Pornhub and xHampster. 

Jane Doe’s case will now return to be heard in U.S. district court in the central district of California.



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