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.
A girl who had been trafficked on Backpage just called me, near tears she was so excited by the news.— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) October 7, 2016
Ferrer's arrest is making a huge difference to those trafficked.
So Backpage had to know: yeah, even though we're in Amsterdam, somewhere down the line, we're going to have to deal with some consequences.— mistressmatisse (@mistressmatisse) October 7, 2016
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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