California deems Backpage.com a brothel, arrests the CEO

October 7, 2016
Carl Ferrer

Carl Ferrer

Backpage.com is the world’s top online brothel, and its CEO, Carl Ferrer, is a pimp, according to the California Attorney General’s Office. Authorities have arrested Ferrer on felony charges of pimping, pimping a minor and conspiracy to commit pimping.

Backpage hosts ads for a variety of items and services, but the vast majority of its revenue comes from prostitution-related ads in its adult services section, an attorney general’s office press release states. The company collects fees from users who post “escort” ads, which offer sex for money using coded language and near-nude photos.

In addition to Ferrer, the controlling shareholders of Backpage, Michael Lacey and James Larrkin, are also facing charges of conspiracy to commit pimping.

“Raking in millions of dollars from trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable victims is outrageous, despicable and illegal,” Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a statement. “Backpage and its executives purposefully and unlawfully designed Backpage to be the world’s top online brothel.”

Harris said the investigators, attorneys and special agents who have worked on the case are protecting thousands of victims of sex trafficking, some of whom are minors. Harris is currently campaigning to replace Sen. Barbara Boxer in the United States Senate.

Internal reports show that between Jan. 2013 and March 2015, 99 percent of Backpage’s worldwide income came from its adult section, according to the attorney general’s office. During that period, Backpage’s revenue from California totalled more than $51 million, the company’s self-reporting shows.

There are currently 34 California cities listed on the website. They include San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria and Santa Barbara.

Investigators determined Ferrer took data from Backpage users and created affiliate sites, like EvilEmpire.com and BigCity.com, in attempt to control more of the online sex advertising market. EvilEmpire.com featured photos and contact information, yet there was no apparent way for users to directly submit content.

A three-year California Department of Justice investigation into Backpage included stings in which agents used escort ads to arrange meetings with both prostitutes and johns.

The state DOJ encourages anyone who was a victim of trafficking via Backpage to file a report by emailing backpage@doj.ca.gov.


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9 Comments

  1. mullyman says:

    If the people posting these ads are underage, being exploited,threatened or controlled by this website then the people doing this should be held accountable. If the people posting the ads do so freely then they should be allowed to so. What activity that consenting adults do in private should not be judged by other people as long as it doesn’t hurt other people. Some people could say that the NFL cheerleaders are also being exploited as they have to look and dress a certain way to get a paycheck. If the ads posted did not involve the exchange of money for a service then it would be legal I presume. ( correct me if wrong ) So is the government filing charges on a moral basis or just unhappy that their cut isn’t bigger.

    (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  2. NorthCountyGuy says:

    The career-politicians in Sacramento should be arrested for being prostitutes of the highest bidders.

    (9) 11 Total Votes - 10 up - 1 down
  3. Vagabond says:

    “Raking in millions of dollars from trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable victims is outrageous, despicable and illegal”
    Damn straight, that’s the governments job!

    (8) 10 Total Votes - 9 up - 1 down
  4. Snoid says:

    “Raking in millions of dollars from taxing of vulnerable victims is outrageous, despicable and illegal. Here’s my version.

    (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down
  5. Indy thinker says:

    I am against the exploitation of minors, human trafficking and enslavement of anyone.
    With that being said referencing the exchange of goods and services of consenting adults… Quoting my favorite comedian George Carlin
    “Selling is legal, fucking is legal… Why isn’t selling fucking legal?”

    (8) 16 Total Votes - 12 up - 4 down
  6. abigchocoholic says:

    “Raking in millions of dollars from trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable victims is outrageous, despicable and illegal,” Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a statement.
    ——————
    Ya, that weird how willing adult participants to contracts for services can be vulnerable victims.

    (3) 17 Total Votes - 10 up - 7 down
  7. sloweb says:

    All Attorneys General spring board to higher office via a sensational case. Quelle surprise.

    (18) 34 Total Votes - 26 up - 8 down

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