DMACC instructor aims to curb exploitation, abuse with “Platinum House”

Women entering the adult film industry are often vulnerable to predatory behavior and abuse from people who are referred to as agents or managers. These supervisors not only find potential shoots for the women, but often search for new recruits to introduce into the industry.

 According to the documentary “Hot Girls Wanted,” most of the girls recruited by agents are 18 to 20 years old. Those beginning their career often see this work as a source of fast money or stepping stone towards celebrity and the film industry.

Professor David Wahl teaches sociology, theory studies and courses related to sexuality at Iowa State University and DMACC. Additionally, he works as a researcher concerning all aspects of human sexuality. This work has led him to help exploited women within the adult film industry. 

Those working in pornography are expected to consistently push their boundaries into distressing territory, potentially causing psychological and even physical harm. With such an influx of women joining the industry, they are considered replaceable. 

Professor Wahl has aided in the development of a safehouse for these women, known as the Platinum House. Its location is in an undisclosed part of Los Angeles to keep those residing there safe from their previous agents. 

“We are taking women who have found themselves in bad situations in the adult film industry. Some of them have been trafficked. Some of them have been lured in with false premises. Some of them have gone in willingly and had good experiences that turned bad eventually, being forced to perform sexual acts that they are not consenting to. Some of them are being held against their will in a variety of ways,” Whal explained. 

After women are pulled from an exploitative situation they are brought to a home which can accommodate up to five or six residents at a time. There is heavy security, room and board, and privacy. 

Those staying at the Platinum House do so entirely free of charge. Additionally, these women have access to full medical and psychiatric evaluations. To help generate newfound opportunities and potential careers they are also provided with a free college or trade school education.

Once they are ready to leave the house, the women are aided in finding new jobs. Should they choose to re-enter the adult film industry, their experience will be very different.

“We make sure they have proper management. We make sure that if they go to a set they now have a manager with them, or chaperone.  But, they also have security with them. The big point there is that we are going to make it so that these women never again have to do something against their will,” Wahl said.

This project is only about two years old, making it difficult to observe the long-term effects achieved by the Platinum House. However, Wahl appears optimistic that the house has potential to help more exploited women escape predatory agents.  

Professor Wahl said that he ultimately hopes that the Platinum House generates enough success to expand their reach. “I mean, it’s one house. Five or six is all it can sustain. 

But we want this to be a success so multiple Platinum Houses will open up in Los Angeles and beyond California.

I would love Platinum Houses here in Iowa because Iowa is a major hub of sex trafficking …. It’s a serious problem here.”


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