Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s Office Helps Shut Down Sex Trafficking Website
Law enforcement from several states have shut down an online sex trafficking website. The Office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton made the announcement on Monday, saying they’d been working with the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona and the Central District of California, and the California attorney general’s office.
The website known as Backpage.com was reported to be the largest sex trafficking marketplace in the world, where sex traffickers would advertise both adults and children. It was believed to have been accessible in 97 countries and at 943 locations worldwide.
The website’s downfall began in October of 2016, when officers of Paxton’s Law Enforcement Divison arrested the CEO of Backpage.com, Carl Ferrer. A search of the company’s headquarters in Dallas, Texas, helped uncover strong evidence that was critical to the investigation. The arrest of Ferrer was a joint operation assisted by California’s attorney general’s office.
The Backpage.com website has been replaced with a banner that reads, “Backpage.com and affiliated websites have been seized as part of an enforcement action by the Federal Bureau of Investigations. . .”
The investigation into Backpage.com was brought in part by Paxton’s Human Trafficking and Transnational Organized Crime office (HTTOC). Paxton announced the formation of the HTTOC back on Jan. 14, 2016. Paxton’s office also released an hour-long training video in January of 2018, outlining the prominence of human trafficking in Texas and how citizens can spot and report human trafficking activity. To see that video, watch below or click here.