PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — "Teen" is the most searched term in online pornography, and thousands of young people enter the amateur porn industry every day, lured by promises of quick money and hopes for fame.
The disturbing world of amateur pornography — professionally produced films made to look like home movies — is exposed in the new documentary by Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus, "Hot Girls Wanted," which premiered Saturday at the Sundance Film Festival.
Craigslist ads promising free flights to Miami bring in a constant stream of would-be porn stars.
"Every day, another girl turns 18," says Riley, a 23-year-old "agent" who hosts half a dozen young women eager to enter the industry at his Miami home. He says the career-span for these 18- to 21-year-olds is typically three months.
Teenagers who have grown up in the age of the Internet have always known porn is easy to find. And as pop culture has become more and more sexualized, the taboo against sex on film has faded for them, the attitude being, "We're doing it anyway, why not get paid?"
The filmmakers said that according to current laws, it's legal for anyone with a camera who calls himself a porn producer to solicit sex. The woman is technically being paid for her "performance," not the sex act.
Tressa, an 18-year-old girl featured in the film, was attracted to porn as a way to escape her Texas hometown. She said she earned $25,000 in her four months in the industry, but after paying for lingerie, manicures, makeup and biweekly STD tests, she only had about $2,000 in her bank account when she quit the business.
"It's easy to take advantage of an 18-year-old girl," she said.
Associated Press entertainment writer Sandy Cohen is on Twitter at www.twitter.com/APSandy