David Kravets – October, 7, 2016
The embattled CEO of Backpage.com, Carl Ferrer, was arrested Thursday and accused of running an online ad portal that facilitated prostitution and the pimping of young children into sexual servitude.
“Raking in millions of dollars from the trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable victims is outrageous, despicable, and illegal, California Attorney General Kamala Harris said. “Backpage and its executives purposefully and unlawfully designed Backpage to be the world’s top online brothel.”
Charged with a variety of felonies, (PDF) including pimping a minor, pimping and conspiracy to commit pimping, is Carl Ferrer. The 55-year-old Ferrer has been in a year-long battle with the US Senate, which voted to hold him in contempt for his refusal to comply with an investigation into online sex trafficking. He had claimed the Web portal enjoyed a First Amendment right not to supply documents to the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations about how it reviews third-party ads posted to the site. After his legal challenge ping-ponged through the courts, the US Supreme Court last month approved the subpoena, forcing Ferrer to comply.
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation on Friday called Ferrer the “Global Kingpin of Pimping.”
“Backpage’s profiteering from sex trafficking and prostitution is equivalent to the East India Company’s facilitation of the African slave trade,” Dawn Hawkins, the executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, said.