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This photo released by the Texas Office of the Attorney General shows Carl Ferrer. State agents have raided the Dallas headquarters of adult classified ad portal Backpage and arrested Chief Executive Officer Ferrer. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton alleges that adult and child sex-trafficking victims had been forced into prostitution through escort ads posted on the site. Paxton announced that Ferrer had been arrested Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, on a California warrant after arriving in Houston on a flight from Amsterdam. (Texas Office of the Attorney General via AP)

The CEO of Backpage.com was arrested on sex trafficking charges


Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Thursday that Carl Ferrer, the CEO of Backpage.com -- a site that advertises escorts -- was arrested on human sex trafficking charges for running advertising on his site for escorts that were actually sex slaves. 

Ferrer, 55, was taken into custody after he arrived in Houston on his way back from Amsterdam. 

"Backpage.com seems to have knowingly and willingly allowed women and children to be exploited for its own financial gain," Paxton said in a statement.

Ferrer's arrest is making a huge difference to those trafficked. 

Some Twitter users wondered how Backpage ever thought it could get away with it.

Backpage is the largest advertiser of adult escort services in the United States. Documents show Backpage.com took in $50 million in ads between 2013 and 2015.

Major credit card companies cut ties to the website and Texas is in the process of shutting down the site. Customers paid by Bitcoin or by sending in checks.

A joint investigation by Texas and California authorities found evidence that adult and child sex trafficking victims were forced into prostitution through Backpage.com escort ads.

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