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Backpage Plea to Texas Sex Trafficking Charge Turns On CEO’s Admission to Brokering Adult Prostitution

The classified ads site Backpage and its leaders now face more than 100 criminal charges between them. Many—including the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Texas Attorney General’s Office—are reporting this as a confirmation that the company encouraged the sexual exploitation of minors. Yet all of the federal charges pending against Backpage executives are for money laundering or facilitating prostitution, not sex trafficking.
The one trafficking charge in all this comes from Texas, where Backpage LLC plead guilty to “knowingly receiving a benefit from participating in a venture” that caused the compelled prostitution of Erika Brewster, then around age 16 or 17. On behalf of Backpage, CEO Carl Ferrer has entered a guilty plea to one count of trafficking in persons and one count of engaging in organized criminal activity (in addition to one count of money laundering on his own behalf).
In a statement, Ferrer said he knew that the “escort”

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