On October 6, police arrested Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston and issued warrants for Backpage’s former owners Michael Lacey and James Larkin, who surrendered four days later. Lacey and Larkin, publishers who founded Backpage in 2004 through their newspaper chain New Times Inc.and, according to California prosecutors, sold the site in 2014 to a Dutch company affiliated with Ferrer, each face one count of pimping conspiracy.“Natalie” is now suing the classifieds website for its role in her ordeal.
Norma Manzo and Greg Reese work to set up a “date” with a person who advertised on
They are in a team of about a dozen people who reach out to young women engaged in the commercial sex industry.
“This is a concerted effort to build a business enterprise around the trafficking of human beings,” says Yiota Souras, general counsel for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Her nonprofit has identified more than 420 cases of missing children who wound up in Backpage ads, and it has worked on an additional 3,000 or more potential cases of suspected child-sex trafficking on Backpage, which the nonprofit has not yet confirmed, in California alone.
In 2015, following the lead of American Express, Visa and Master Card pulled their services from Backpage. And in open letters, 46 state attorneys general and 19 U. senators have urged Backpage to clean up its practices.
So far, however, those efforts haven’t had much impact, so opponents of the site are now targeting the men behind it.
The arrests were the culmination of a three-year California Department of Justice investigation that involved agents posing as Backpage clients and interviewing escorts, some as young as 13.
The men are out on bail and due to appear in court November 16.
That woman introduced her to another pimp, who forced her to sell her body on Backpage.com, a classifieds website similar to Craigslist.
She worked several times per day, and her pimp kept all money.
The site requires people to be at least 18 to post adult ads and prohibits those featuring “obscene or lewd and lascivious graphics or photographs which depict genitalia or actual or simulated sexual acts.” Backpage also forbids “any illegal service exchanging sexual favors for money or other valuable consideration” and anything that exploits minors or “constitutes or assists in human trafficking.” The site automatically blocks ads with certain keywords and keyword phrases (“cum,” “quickie,” “barely legal”), and a team of employees monitors for problematic content.