Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters

ORCID (Links to author’s additional scholarship at ORCID.org)



The utilization of the internet for human trafficking and sexual exploitation is not an issue that can be tackled one corporation, one country, or one market sector at a time. It is an international problem that requires broader solutions that can protect and provide remedy to victims without chilling the freedom of speech and freedom of contract of consensual parties engaged in sex work. Recent changes to laws related to human trafficking have strengthened the power of litigation, authorizing civil lawsuits against perpetrators of human trafficking that may include third-parties who knowingly benefit from trafficking conduct—such as internet providers, business partners and even banks and credit card companies. These laws have enabled the victims of Jeffrey Epstein to successfully pursue Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan Chase, receiving multimillion dollar settlements. Pressure from credit card companies who were named in lawsuits combined with other litigation efforts changed the practices of Pornhub and its parent company MindGeek, resulting in the eventual acquisition of MindGeek by Ethical Capital Partners (ECP), a private equity firm intent on giving the company an Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) makeover. While there is a next chapter for the parent corporation, many of the independent sex workers who depend on platforms for their primary income continue to suffer irreparable harm. Also, to date, MindGeek and Pornhub have not paid settlements on cases arising under the new legislation. Most cases against internet providers have not survived a motion to dismiss. These civil actions also fail to address harm to victims outside the jurisdiction of countries with similar measures. If the goal is to bring an end to exploitation for profit on the internet, not merely to legislate morality and end sex-work in general, a more comprehensive and targeted solution is needed.

This article contemplates a corporate governance solution that could aid advances in technology by placing a limit on the reliance by company management on corporate structure and contractual relationships to disclaim responsibility and justify inaction. In a prior work, Corporate Family Matters, I propose a definition and governance regime for a particular type of corporate group—the corporate family. A corporate family is an enterprise formed by weaving corporations, partnerships, and LLCs together in a mix of public and private entities acting for the benefit of a parent corporation or for the personal gain of one or more leaders of the enterprise. Using MindGeek as an example, this Essay applies this definition to the enterprise, and explains how acknowledging the influence of MindGeek and treating the enterprise as a family can provide relief to victims while minimizing collateral harms.

Publication Title

Texas Law Review

Document Type



Human Trafficking, Sexual Exploitation, Online Platforms, Civil Lawsuits, Sex Work, Internet Pornography, Corporate Governance, Corporate Family, MindGeek, FOSTA, SESTA



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