Twenty-two women have been awarded more than $19 million after winning a lawsuit against porn website GirlsDoPorn and its Kiwi boss in the United States.

The website was found to have engaged in malice, oppression or fraud by falsely telling the women their sex videos would never appear online.

A complaint laid by the women said they responded to ads for modelling jobs but were eventually told the job was really for adult films.

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They were coerced into filming with claims they could stay anonymous and their films would only be distributed on DVD in foreign counties, according to the complaint.

Kiwi man Michael James Pratt was a co-owner of GirlsDoPorn and was also facing sex trafficking charges, producing child pornography and sex trafficking of a minor.

He was on the run from authorities and reports from October suggested the 36-year-old could be hiding in New Zealand.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Kevin Enright awarded the 22 Jane Does US$12.7 million (NZ$19 million), CourthouseNews.com reported.

The women were told their sex videos would not appear online, however, within weeks the videos were posted to other porn websites like Pornhub.

They were aged between 17 and 22 when the videos were filmed were awarded between US$250,000 and US$500,000 each.

Victims had lost jobs, relationships and suffered mental health issues as a result of the actions of GirlsDoPorn, CourthouseNews.com reported.

GirlsDoPorn co-owner Matthew Wolfe was arrested on October 9 and Pratt was considered a fugitive, the Department of Justice said last year.

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TV station NBC San Diego reported on October 8 Pratt had returned to New Zealand before the start of his civil fraud trial in San Diego, according to testimony from Wolfe.

Wolfe was being questioned by the attorneys of the 22 young women, NBC said.

He said Pratt had returned to New Zealand because of "health issues related to threats he had received" after stories about GirlsDoPorn were published, NBC reported.

A New Zealand porn Michael Pratt is on the run. Photo / File
A New Zealand porn Michael Pratt is on the run. Photo / File

Pratt went on holiday in South America before flying back to New Zealand from Tijuana, Wolfe said.

He testified that he spoke with Pratt as recently as October 1. The pair communicated via encrypted platform Signal, NBC reported.

The US Attorney's Office said it could not make any further comment.

In October, a New Zealand customers spokesman said it could not provide information on individual travellers due to privacy reasons.

He asked the Herald to refer questions to the police or Interpol.

A police spokesperson said it was "not for NZ Police to comment on cases in another jurisdiction" and recommended the Herald contact the FBI's media team.

Speaking on behalf of Interpol, police said they had nothing to add.

The Herald has been unable to reach the FBI.