Ferrer was taken into custody as he arrived in Houston on a flight from Amsterdam. The plaintiffs alleged that Backpage's "lack of controls on the display of phone numbers, the option to anonymize mail addresses, the stripping of metadata from photos uploaded to the website, and Backpage's acceptance of anonymous payments" made them complicit in running what California's attorney general described as the internet's "top online brothel".
She said prostitution ads violate Backpage.com's policies against illegal content, that the company blocked the posting of ads using terms that violated those policies and removed ads when contacted by law enforcement.
The court's response to those claims was that those features of Backpage.com were "part and parcel of the overall design and operation of the website". However, on October 7, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit temporarily stayed that order in response to an emergency request filed by Ferrer before the arrest. He is being held in lieu of $500,000 bond and was set to face an extradition hearing before he can be returned to California.
"We do know that some of the ladies that we work with have been on Backpage.com", Vednita Carter says. The website makes 99 percent of its revenue off of its classified "adult" section, which includes escorts and strippers, according to the press release. Investigators also searched the company's Dallas headquarters. Backpage is better known as one of the biggest web platforms for sex ads and prostitution.
Ferrer's attorneys said Ferrer looks forward to "vigorously fighting these charges". Backpage has continued to host those ads even after other sites, including Craigslist, shut down their adult sections. Such a "scheme" allowed Ferrer to widen Backpage's reach in the illicit online sex trade, prosecutors said.
He will appear in court on the pimping charges.
Ferrer was arrested on a California warrant. He was arrested on a California warrant, after a three-year investigation there determined that many of Backpage's adult ads included victims of sex trafficking and minors. Backpage.com has a reputation among pimps and prostitutes as the place to go to find easy money.
Backpage was started by Village Voice Media and is now owned by a Dutch company.
"Raking in millions of dollars from the trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable victims is outrageous, despicable and illegal", said California Attorney General Kamala Harris in a statement.