If you’re not familiar with Backpage.com, it may just be because you’re not into hookers.
You might remember, Backpage is the SAME website on which Zola, the woman with the CRAAAZY Twitter story, had a profile created for her thanks to her friend.
The classified advertising site is widely known for being used by escorts, making chief executive Carl Ferrer kind of a cyber pimp.
But his new title is defendant — as he’s just been charged with conspiracy and pimping a minor!
Carl was arrested on Thursday in Texas on a California warrant after he arrived on a flight in Houston from Amsterdam. The arrest was part of a three-year investigation between both States of California and Texas that found minors had used the site for prostitution.
The 15-year-old girl who is at the center of the case testified she was pushed into prostitution at only 13 and used Backpage.com to advertise, saying:
“I mean really, coming from someone my age, there is too much access, like it’s too easy for people get on it and post an ad.”
Just one of many dangers with prostitution by Internet…
Unsurprisingly, that’s not the only time the controversial site has been in the news as the company has been linked to HUNDREDS of trafficking cases across the country. But authorities said this is the FIRST time criminal charges have been brought against the company.
Aside from Ferrer, the website’s two founders, Michael Lacey and James Larkin, both face charges as special agent of the California Department of Justice, Brian Fichtner wrote in an affidavit:
“Defendants have known that their website is the United States hub for the illegal sex trade and that many of the people advertised for commercial sex on Backpage are victims of sex trafficking, including children.”
Though arrest warrants were filed against Lacey and Larkin, as of Thursday, no arrests were made.
According to records, from January 2013 to March 2015, 99 percent of Backpage’s income was “directly attributable” to its adult advertising!
Earlier this year, a congressional investigation found the site had changed some of their classifieds to hide that their ads were for sex with minors! That means on some level, the people in charge were all too aware of what their site was being used for. YUCK!
On a sad related note, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has reported a 800% increase in the last five years, and it’s heavily suspected to be from sex trafficking.
We sure are interested to see how this plays out and hope justice gets served!
[Image via Texas Office of the Attorney Genera.]