A major victory in fight to end sex trafficking

Sex website CEO pleads guilty in Sacramento to money laundering in Backpage case | The Sacramento Bee

Sex website CEO pleads guilty in Sacramento to money laundering in Backpage case | The Sacramento Bee

The Justice Department announced Thursday that Backpage's co-founder and CEO, Carl Ferrer, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to facilitate prostitution using a facility in interstate or foreign commerce and to engage in money laundering.

The chief executive of Backpage.com, the gender advertisements website not too long ago captured from the federal authorities, pleaded guilty on Thursday to prices from California and Texas, and officials urged plea agreements made last week in federal court in Arizona.

Women's March, one of the nation's most prominent left-wing activist groups, defended Backpage on March 7 - the day after the Department of Justice seized the website and shut it down.

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Breitbart Texas and Breitbart News have reported extensively on the taking down of Backpage.com by law enforcement officials and numerous human trafficking crimes prosecuted against sex trafficking perpetrators who used the website for their marketing.

The founders also were among those indicted this month by a federal grand jury in Arizona. "But this illegality stops right now". Magistrate Judge Bridget Bade says attorneys have agreed on the terms of release, but other details must be ironed out.

"Ferrer further admitted that he conspired with other Backpage principals to find ways to knowingly facilitate the state-law prostitution crimes being committed by Backpage's customers".

Gregory Zarzaur, who has been litigating against Backpage for a year on behalf of an alleged child sex trafficking victim in Alabama, said he hope other victims would be encouraged to come forward.

Ferrer also agreed to make the company's data available to law enforcement.

Ferrer's guilty plea is the latest domino to fall in a rush of developments against the site. Prosecutors allege Backpage's operators illegally funneled money through multiple companies and created websites to get around banks that refused to process their transactions.

Ferrer was arrested at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston in October 2016 after arriving on a flight from Amsterdam, accused of running a "pimping conspiracy". The site was the dominant hub for sex workers to advertise their services, and it had come under increasing scrutiny in recent years as the U.S. government made efforts to crack down on sex trafficking with legislation like the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act (SESTA), which President Trump signed this week. Backpage was owned by a Dutch-based company.

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