SAN FERNANDO VALLEY, CA, February 27, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In 2013, the pornography industry saw four “performers” test positive for HIV/AIDS, which led to three production moratoriums. According to experts, one of the reasons for the disease's growing prevalence in the industry may be its dirty little secret: the fact that many performers are having to engage in illegal “escorting” and prostitution to make ends meet.
Once considered a profitable industry for male and female performers, pornography is seeing its former boon turn into its bane: The Internet, which opened the floodgates of porn and helped pave the way toward its becoming mainstream, has also introduced the phenomena of pirating and other problems.
In a world of porn-on-demand “it's hard to make money in porn,” says Craig Gross, founder of XXXChurch, a non-profit based in California which aims to bring “awareness, prevention, and recovery when it comes to porn, sex addiction, and related struggles.”
“The days of doing 10 films a year and making $100,000 a year are gone,” he told LifeSiteNews. Now, he says, “You see a lot of girls who see they can make money doing strip club performances, prostitution, escorting in local areas, etc.”
Former porn star Mariah Milano recently told Salon that when she joined the porn industry, “Escorts were considered dirty, bottom of the barrel. Nobody was open to admitting they did it.” But in the last few years, she says, things have changed dramatically, with people now just assuming that performers are also doing prostitution on the side.
A porn actress who goes by the name Houston agreed. “If you look at the escort sites, pretty much every porn star is on there,” she told Salon. “I think pretty much everyone is doing it now.”
Craig Gross recalls that at one porn convention his team attended, there was a company next to their booth that worked with some of the country's top porn stars. “What they would have is a website that allows people to request customizable videos where women would dress in the requested way, do certain acts, etc. for a price and a time period. The video is then sent to the client,” he said. “This is not prostitution but just another way that people in the sex industry are having to do more then just film a scene and get paid.”
“There are huge risks if you're jumping from the legal porn industry to the illegal prostitution industry,” says Gross. “Safety, health, a number of things. It's taken very seriously.”
Jan Villarubia, a former pornography star, told LifeSiteNews that she became a dominatrix and then a prostitute because her husband didn't provide. After her divorce in 2004, she says, “I was a single, desperate mom with three kids.” She describes her first porn shoot as “$300 for an hour of just Hell.”
Villarubio got out of pornography in 2007, but was diagnosed with two STIs in 2008. She says she is now “herpes-free” because of her Christian faith.
Milano told Salon that she doesn't see things changing any time soon. “I don’t think there’s any stopping it. There’s too much demand, too much money. Not enough shoots.”