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Backpage.com raided, CEO arrested for sex-trafficking

DALLAS — State agents raided a Dallas offices of adult personal ad portal Backpage.com and arrested Chief Executive Officer Carl Ferrer following allegations that adult and child sex-trafficking victims were forced into harlotry by chaperon ads posted on a site.

Ferrer, 55, was arrested on a California aver after nearing Thursday in Houston on a moody from Amsterdam. Authorities also released warrants for a detain of a site’s determining shareholders, Michael Lacey, 68, and James Larkin, 67.

“Making income off a backs of trusting tellurian beings by permitting them to be exploited for modern-day labour is not excusable in Texas,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, pronounced in a statement.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris pronounced that Ferrer was arrested on transgression charges of pimping a minor, pimping, and swindling to dedicate pimping. He is being hold in lieu of $500,000 bond and will face an extradition conference before he can be returned to California.

Under California’s law, transgression pimping is tangible as creation income off of prostitutes or soliciting business for prostitution.

“Raking in millions of dollars from a trafficking and exploitation of exposed victims is outrageous, inhuman and illegal,” pronounced Harris, a Democrat who is regulating for a U.S. Senate in subsequent month’s election. “Backpage and a executives purposefully and unlawfully designed Backpage to be a world’s tip online brothel.”

An profession representing Backpage, Liz McDougall, did not immediately respond to write and email messages left by The Associated Press.

Lacey and Larkin are former owners of a Village Voice and a Phoenix New Times. An profession who formerly represented a dual men, Michael Manning, did not immediately respond to a write summary from The AP.

Backpage advertises a far-reaching operation of services, though a California detain aver alleges that inner business annals performed by a hunt aver uncover that 99 percent a income came from a adult services territory between Jan 2013 and Mar 2015. California officials pronounced a site collects fees from users who use coded denunciation and scarcely bare photos to offer sex for money.

Worldwide income from sex ads surfaced $3.1 million in usually one week final year, according to a justice affidavit. It says Ferrer stretched Backpage’s share of online sex selling by formulating dependent sites including EvilEmpire.com and BigCity.com with associated content.

Larkin and Lacey any perceived $10 million bonuses from a website in Sep 2014, according to a justice filing. It says Backpage was combined in 2004, though given 2014 has been owned by a Netherlands-based association that has Ferrer as a usually named partner.

California authorities pronounced a state’s three-year review found many of a ads embody victims of sex trafficking including children underneath a age of 18.

One of a advertisers, identified usually as 15-year-old “E.S.,” ‘’was forced into harlotry during a age of 13 by her pimp,” according to an confirmation filed with a complaint. She used other online promotion services until they were close down, a justice filing says, when she incited to Backpage.

“I meant really, entrance from someone my age, there is too most access, like it’s too easy for people to get on it and post an ad,” she told California Special Agent Brian Fichtner, according to his affidavit.

California officials pronounced their review was stirred in partial by a National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, that reported 2,900 instances to California authorities given 2012 when suspected child sex trafficking occurred regulating Backpage.

The rapist censure includes allegations that 5 minors, 3 of them including “E.S.” underneath age 16, paid to post advertisements on Backpage.

The charges opposite Ferrer could move him scarcely 22 years in prison, while Larkin and Lacey face a limit 6 years.

A U.S. Senate subcommittee that has investigated a association estimated a annual revenues during some-more than $150 million.

___

Thompson reported from Sacramento, California. Associated Press Writer Bob Christie contributed from Phoenix.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This element might not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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