Nearly three dozen women sued Pornhub on Thursday, alleging that the firm operates as a “classic criminal enterprise” that profits from content showing rape, child pornography, sex trafficking and other nonconsensual activity.

The lawsuit claims that Pornhub and its parent company, MindGeek, allowed any type of pornography to be published and incentivized people to watch more of it. Executives understood that users were posting nonconsensual sexual content and knowingly chose to monetize it, according to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

“The case is not about consensual porn or negligence,” Michael Bowe, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in an email. “It’s about a porn company’s intentional election to include in their business model rape and other nonconsensual content.”

Neither MindGeek nor Pornhub responded to requests for comment on the allegations. Pornhub told NBC News that its website has “the most comprehensive safeguards in user-generated platform history” and no tolerance for illegal content.

“The allegations in today’s complaint that Pornhub is a criminal enterprise that traffics women and is run like ‘The Sopranos’ are utterly absurd, completely reckless and categorically false,” the company told NBC News.

The suit contends that MindGeek, a Canadian company that operates some of the world’s most popular pornography sites, is “one of the largest human trafficking ventures in the world” and alleges it operates “just like the Sopranos,” referring to the HBO drama about the Mafia. The plaintiffs are California resident Serena Fleites, who says she is a victim of child sex trafficking, and 33 other women who have chosen to remain anonymous.

In addition to accusing the firm of letting users post nonconsensual content, the lawsuit alleges that MindGeek also bought in bulk content produced by human traffickers and used hundreds of shell corporations to hide the activity and launder the proceeds. Using nonconsensual content was key to MindGeek’s business plan, the suit says — re-traumatizing victims.

“Plaintiffs in this case are … human beings victimized first by their original abuser, and then repeatedly by the defendants in this case,” the lawsuit says.

Pornhub has repeatedly found itself on the defensive in recent months. In December, a New York Times column by Nicholas Kristof alleged that the platform “is infested with rape videos” and “monetizes child rapes.” He argued that although most of Pornhub’s 6.8 million videos per year probably depict consensual sex, others show child abuse and nonconsensual violence. Pornhub told the Times that the claims were “irresponsible and flagrantly untrue.”

After Kristof’s column raised alarms, payment processor Visa and one of its primary competitors, Mastercard, paused the use of their credit cards on Pornhub. Days later, Mastercard said it had completed an investigation into the allegations and severed ties with the platform.

Pornhub announced enhanced safety features, including letting only verified users post content. Visa said it would keep banning payments to Pornhub but would allow payments on MindGeek platforms with professionally produced pornography rather than user-generated content.

Thursday’s lawsuit also names Visa as a defendant and says the company “was uniquely suited to stop this exploitation but chose instead to participate in the profiteering.”

Visa did not respond Friday to a request for comment.

Testifying before Canada’s House of Commons in February, Fleites said a boy she was dating in the seventh grade asked her for a video of herself undressing. After she turned down his request several times, she testified, he threatened to break up with her if she didn’t do it. So Fleites said she sent him a video, which soon circulated among her classmates and appeared on Pornhub with the caption “13-year-old brunette shows off for the camera.”

As she started ditching school and using drugs, Fleites posed as her mom to ask Pornhub to take down the video, she testified. The company agreed a week or two later and then waited another two weeks to remove it, Fleites claimed. She alleged that the video was later re-uploaded.

Fleites later testified again at a briefing hosted by the Washington, D.C.-based National Center on Sexual Exploitation, a nonprofit organization that seeks to combat sexual abuse. More than 2 million people signed a petition calling for Pornhub to be shut down because of the trafficking allegations. Other lawsuits targeted Pornhub’s parent company, alleging that the platform allowed the publication of nonconsensual videos and photos.

One of the anonymous plaintiffs in Thursday’s lawsuit told reporters in a conference call that she wanted Pornhub to face accountability.

“It is time for the companies and individuals who have profited off of nonconsensual and illegal content be held liable for their crime,” the plaintiff said, according to CNN. “I joined the lawsuit because I seek justice for myself and the countless victims who don’t come forward.”

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