In his office’s continued effort to combat human trafficking, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced the arrest of Carl Ferrer, the CEO of Backpage.com, a notorious adult website that generates millions of dollars annually from its classified sex ads.
Ferrer, 55, was taken into custody this afternoon on a California arrest warrant after he arrived in Houston on a flight from Amsterdam. A lengthy joint investigation by the offices of the Texas and California attorneys general uncovered evidence that adult and child sex trafficking victims were forced into prostitution through escort ads that appeared repeatedly on Backpage.
“Making money off the backs of innocent human beings by allowing them to be exploited for modern-day slavery is not acceptable in Texas,” Attorney General Paxton said. “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.”
Nearly three dozen members of the Texas Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Unit participated in Ferrer’s arrest and the execution of a search warrant on the Dallas headquarters of Backpage, which is considered the largest advertiser of adult escort services in the United States.
Last January, Attorney General Paxton launched his office’s Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime (HTTOC) unit, which works closely with prosecutors around the state to bring human traffickers to justice. Recently, HTTOC helped the Nueces County district attorney’s office secure a 40-year sentence for the trafficker of a 15-year-old victim.