The classified ads website that frequently featured ads for sex has pleaded guilty to human trafficking, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Thursday.
Backpage.com CEO Carl Ferrer also pleaded guilty to money laundering and will be sentenced to up to five years in prison. Ferrer is also cooperating with investigators and additional charges could be filed against others as part of the investigation.
“Backpage facilitated the sex trafficking of innocent women and children through sites it ran for 943 locations in 97 countries and 17 languages. It was involved in 73 percent of all child trafficking cases reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children,” Paxton’s office said in their announcement.
“Taking down Backpage and obtaining a criminal conviction for the company and its CEO represents a significant victory in the fight against human trafficking in Texas and around the world,” Attorney General Paxton said.
“I want to thank the Attorney General of California, the U.S. Department of Justice, federal law enforcement officials, Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez, and the prosecutors and law enforcement in my office for their outstanding collaborative work on this investigation and prosecution.”