HOUSTON -- The CEO of Backpage.Com Carl Ferrer was arrested Thursday in Houston Texas on a California warrant accusing him of three pimping related charges.
Charges that Backpage.Com called in a statement “frivolous” and said the arrest of Ferrer is an “election year stunt.”
The website has long been accused by state and federal authorities of turning a blind eye to the prostitution and illegal sex trafficking that takes place on its classified ads website.
The arrest sparked reaction from Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar who released a statement saying in part “It's another step forward in the fight against sex trafficking” and citing two cases where 48 arrests were made in New Ulm and Mankato Minnesota related to solicitation for sex on Backpage.com.
“We do know that some of the ladies that we work with have been on Backpage.com,” Vednita Carter says. Carter founded Breaking Free, which is a St. Cloud nonprofit that helps women get out of the world of prostitution.
“This is a multi-billion dollar industry,” Carter sex of the sex trafficking industry. “You can believe whenever there is money like that being made off of the buying and selling of individual bodies, someone else will pick this up even if backpage.com is not there.”
The company is based in Dallas and according to our TEGNA partner station there, WFAA, Backpage.com’s headquarters was searched by state investigators on Thursday.
If you or you know someone who is in need of help you can visit the Breaking Free website.