DALLAS » State agents raided the Dallas headquarters of adult classified ad portal Back and arrested Chief Executive Officer Carl Ferrer on Thursday following allegations that adult and child sex-trafficking victims had been forced into prostitution through escort posted on the site. California Attorney General Kamala Harris said that Ferrer was arrested on felony charges of pimping a minor, pimping, and conspiracy to commit pimping.
An attorney representing Back, Liz McDougall, did not immediately respond to telephone and messages left by The Associated Press. Neither of them has been taken into custody by late Thursday although warrants have been issued for their arrest.
An attorney who ly represented the two men, Michael Manning, did not immediately respond to a telephone message from The AP. Back advertises a wide range of services, but the California arrest warrant alleges that internal business records obtained through a search warrant show that 99 percent its revenue came from its adult services section between January and March California officials said the site collects fees from users who use coded language and nearly nude photos to offer sex for money.
The site operates in hundreds of cities worldwide, authorities said, including more than 30 in California. It says Back was created inbut since has been owned by a Netherlands-based company that has Ferrer as its only named partner.
She used other online advertising services until they were shut down, the court filing says, when she turned to Back. California officials said their investigation was prompted in part by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which reported 2, instances to California authorities since when suspected child sex trafficking occurred using Back.
The charges against Ferrer could bring him nearly 22 years in prison, while Larkin and Lacey face a maximum six years. Back has been the subject of recent Senate hearings into its classified. Last month, the Supreme Court refused to block a Senate subpoena seeking information on how Back screens for possible sex trafficking.
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