The CEO of the classifieds site Backpage.com has been arrested in Texas and charged with crimes, including pimping a child, Buzzfeed reports.
A California Attorney General says that CEO Carl Ferrer has been charged with pimping a minor, pimping, and conspiracy to commit pimping, along with two shareholders of Backpage, Michael Lacey and James Larkin, who have also been charged with conspiracy to commit pimping. The site is widely used by escorts and other sex workers and has long been accused by authorities of not doing enough to crack down on child prostitution and sex trafficking.
According to reports, the underage prostitution is so out of control that the company was effectively cut off from the credit card payment system last year, after the Cook County sheriff in Illinois warned credit card companies that Backpage was profiting from and turning a blind eye to child prostitution. A California arrest warrant for the website states that, “Backpage’s escort services section essentially operates as an online brothel. The ads unequivocally sell sexual services, featuring extremely provocative pictures and lightly veiled or coded sexual terminology.”
The warrant also states that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children have reported 2,900 cases of child sex trafficking in California since 2012. The California criminal investigation began in 2013. California Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a statement, “Raking in millions of dollars from the trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable victims is outrageous, despicable and illegal. Backpage and its executives purposefully and unlawfully designed Backpage to be the world’s top online brothel.”
The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice are now assisting with the California criminal investigation of the site.
SOURCE: Buzzfeed | PHOTO CREDIT: Twitter