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Backpage.com pleading guilty to human trafficking charges in Texas

14 April 2018

Additionally, several Backpage-related corporate entities, including Backpage.com LLC, have entered guilty pleas to conspiracy to engage in money laundering. As of Wednesday, a message from the Federal Bureau of Investigation states that the websites have been seized.

Also charged were Jim Larkin, co-founder of Backpage.com and a longtime Lacey associate.

"Scott says the shutdown of these sites could impact police investigations".

The FBI seized the website because it was allegedly being used to facilitate crime.

Paxon called Thursday's pleas "a significant victory in the fight against human trafficking in Texas and around the world".

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"For far too long, Backpage.com existed as the dominant marketplace for illicit commercial sex, a place where sex traffickers frequently advertised children and adults alike", U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.

"While there is no silver bullet to end sex trafficking, to stop its largest beneficiary is a huge step in the right direction", Krell said following the hearing.

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.

Federal prosecutors dispute Backpage's claims that it bars customers offering illegal services and uses "computerized filters" and human moderators to edit wording of ads that explicitly offer sex for money, arguing the defendants acknowledge in company documents and private meetings they were aware of the prostitution being offered on the website.

But Brown threw out pimping conspiracy and other state charges against Backpage's operators. For example, he worked with his co-conspirators to create "moderation" processes through which Backpage would remove terms and pictures that were particularly indicative of prostitution and then publish a revised version of the ad. Authorities allege the site was often used to traffic underage victims, while company officials said they tried to scrub the website of such ads.

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According to the agreement, since 2004, Backpage has earned hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from publishing "escort" and "adult" ads.

He also says he conspired with others at Backpage.com to launder the proceeds from such ads after credit card companies and banks refused to do business with the site.

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.

The two plea deals, which cover both Ferrer personally and Backpage.com LLC, were unsealed just a day after President Donald Trump enacted a law that targets Backpage and its ilk.

He will serve no more than five years in a state prison under the plea agreement or he could pay a fine of $250,000.

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Backpage.com pleading guilty to human trafficking charges in Texas