AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- State agents have raided the Dallas headquarters of adult classified ad portal Backpage and arrested Chief Executive Officer Carl Ferrer. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton alleges that adult and child sex-trafficking victims had been forced into prostitution through escort ads posted on the site.
Paxton announced that Ferrer had been arrested Thursday on a California warrant after arriving in Houston on a flight from Amsterdam.
In a statement, Paxton said agents from his Law Enforcement Unit participated in the search of Backpage headquarters and Ferrer's arrest.
Backpage has been the subject of recent Senate hearings into its classified ads, which often promote escort services. Last month, the Supreme Court refused to block a Senate subpoena seeking information on how Backpage screens ads for possible sex trafficking.
Statement from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton
“Making money off the backs of innocent human beings by allowing them to be exploited for modern-day slavery is not acceptable in Texas. I intend to use every resource my office has to make sure those who profit from the exploitation and trafficking of persons are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Statement from U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota)
“Websites like Backpage.com facilitate sex trafficking across Minnesota and our country. In fact, in southwest Minnesota, an operation involving Backpage resulted in 48 arrests around the towns of New Ulm and Mankato. With these crimes happening in our own neighborhoods and communities, the arrest of Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer is another step forward in the fight against sex trafficking. We need to keep working together to bring perpetrators to justice and to get victims the support they deserve."