The CEO of Backpage.com was arrested at Houston Intercontinental Airport on pimping charges in an attempt to crack down on human trafficking, the Houston Chronicle reports. Carl Ferrer, 55, was taken into custody yesterday after his flight from Amsterdam landed on a California arrest warrant that included a 10-count complaint accusing him of pimping conspiracy, pimping a minor, and attempted pimping of a minor. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton characterized the company as the nation’s largest advertiser of adult escort services.
“Backpage.com seems to have knowingly and willingly allowed women and children to be exploited in return for its own financial gain,” Paxton said. “It’s disheartening to learn such organized, deep-seated evil has taken root in our own back yard.” Paxton said his office and the California attorney general’s office discovered evidence that adult and sex trafficking victims across the globe were forced into prostitution through ads that appeared on Backpage’s website in a lengthy joint investigation. Backpage may have accepted $1.5 million to $2.5 million a month in California for sex ads. “Raking in millions of dollars from the trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable victims is outrageous, despicable and illegal,” said California Attorney General Kamala Harris. “Backpage and its executives purposefully and unlawfully designed Backpage to be the world’s top online brothel.”