Backpage.com co-founder will remain jailed

Backpage.com Seized, 93-Count Federal Indictment Levied Against Prostitution Website

DoJ seizes control of Backpage.com, hands down indictments related to sex trafficking

The Women's March organization is pushing back against the recent shutdown of notorious adult services website Backpage.com, arguing that the stoppage limits the options for sex workers looking to meet clients. The company also pleaded guilty to human trafficking in Texas.

In addition to those pleas, federal prosecutors in Arizona announced Thursday Backpage.com and CEO Carl Ferrer had pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges on April 5.

In his plea agreement, Carl Ferrer, 57, admitted that he had always been aware that the great majority of Backpage's "escort" and "adult" advertisements were for prostitution services, the department said in a statement. 'But this illegality stops right now'. It came three days after Backpage was seized - its homepage now displays a notice that it was seized under an enforcement action by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Internal Revenue Service.

Azariah Conley, Armando Valdivia and Moses Avila all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit first degree burglary and identity theft after reaching an agreement with the state.

The indictment disputed the site's claims that it barred ads offering illegal services and patrolled ads with computer filters and human moderators to weed out prostitution.

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The Texas Attorney General's office said Backpage.com has pleaded guilty to human trafficking in Texas.

Attorney General Paxton has made combating human trafficking a top priority.

A co-founder of the advertising site Backpage.com will remain jailed through the weekend in Arizona on charges of facilitating prostitution. It found that Backpage.com had aided the sex trafficking of women and girls by removing terms such as "lolita", "teenage", "rape", "young", "amber alert", "little girl", "teen", "fresh", "innocent", and "school girl" from ads before posting them on its site.

CEO Carl Ferrer plead guilty to money laundering. This comes less than a week after the attorney general's office assisted the Department of Justice with permanently shutting down the website.

In his admission statement, Ferrer admitted that he conspired with other Backpage officials to facilitate prostitution crimes being committed by users of the site. He has also agreed to testify against other website officials.

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President Donald Trump this week signed a law making it easier to prosecute website operators in the future.

The statement did not state, however, where the pleas were entered or if they were entered in Texas.

His cooperation in the ongoing investigation into Backpage could lead to other criminal charges against individuals associated with the company, according to the attorney general.

SESTA aims to halt sex trafficking, particularly of children, by restricting what kind of information can be posted on websites like Backpage, where people often advertise sexual services.

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