Dallas, TX- Backpage.com announced on Monday, January 9, 2017, that they would close down their adult page in the wake of a Senate report on sex trafficking and months after the CEO Carl Ferrer was arrested for pimping.
Backpage.com’s legal problems
Operators of Backpage.com announced Monday they were going to shut down websites adult services page in the U.S., USA Today reports. But the company wanted to make it clear that shutting down was should not be seen as a “victory by those seeking to shutter the site.” Instead, Backpage said shuttering the page was the result of “an accumulation of acts of government censorship using extra-legal tactics.”
The decision to shut down the adult pages came after a Senate report which revealed that employees for the website edited profiles that suggested the website promoted child sex trafficking, according to USA Today. One moderator for Backpage told a Senate panel they would take out words that indicated an ad was for prostitution but left the remaining text up. Many of the words scrubbed from the website were words used by sex traffickers including “Amber alert,” “Lolita,” “fresh,” and “schoolgirl.”
The Senate panel also accused Back page of facilitating child sex trafficking, stating the website “knowingly concealed evidence of criminality.”The CEO for Backpage.com was arrested for pimping in October.
According to Arizona Central, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children receives 73 percent of child trafficking reports received from the general public. Additionally, Arizona Central reports that law enforcement officials refer to Backpage as a “hub” of “human trafficking.”
Months before Backpage decided to shutter its adult pages, back in October, Carl Ferrer, CEO of the sex-based website was arrested for pimping as he exited a plane from Amsterdam, NPR reports. Ferrer along with two shareholders was charged with pimping and conspiracy to commit pimping.
Since then, Ferrer’s charges have been amended to pimping and money laundering, both serious charges.
Backpage insists that they did not facilitate prostitution or child sex trafficking and claims the criminal charges and allegations from the Senate amount to “government censorship.”
Pimping charges in Texas
Under Texas law, it is illegal to make money prostitution or promoting prostitution. Some offenders face aggravated promotion if they own or invest in prostitution enterprise,
It is illegal to pimp (make money from a prostitute’s earnings) or promote (facilitate) prostitution in Texas. People may be charged with “aggravated promotion” – a more serious crime– if they knowingly own, invest in, finance, control, supervise, or manage a prostitution enterprise that uses two or more prostitutes.
There is an even more serious charge, compelling prostitution, in which the perpetrator forces another person to commit prostitution through force, fraud, or threat. Compelling prostitution also includes forcing a child under the age of 18 to engage in prostitution by any means regardless of whether the accused is aware of the child’s age when the offense is committed.
A conviction for pimping or promotion of prostitution can lead to significant jail time. Depending on the severity of the pimping counts, a person convicted of the charges face up to 180 days in jail up to several years. If you are confronted with a promotion of prostitution charge, USAttorneys recommends you speak with a criminal defense attorney in Dallas, Texas a let them work on your defense.