Sunday, April 15, 2018

More Backpage (.com) news

From the Washington Post:
Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer pleads guilty in three states, agrees to testify against other website officials
"Carl Ferrer, the chief executive of whose name was conspicuously absent from an indictment of seven other Backpage officials unsealed Monday, has pleaded guilty in state courts in California and Texas and federal court in Arizona to charges of money laundering and conspiracy to facilitate prostitution. In addition, he agreed to testify against the men who co-founded Backpage with him, Michael Lacey and James Larkin, who remained in jail Thursday in Arizona on facilitating prostitution charges.
Backpage, in addition to hosting thinly veiled ads for prostitution since 2004, was accused of hosting child sex trafficking ads on its site and even assisting advertisers in wording their copy so they didn’t overtly declare that sex was for sale, federal investigators allege. In a remarkable three-paragraph admission in his federal plea agreement, Ferrer wrote that “I conspired with other Backpage principals … to find ways to knowingly facilitate the state-law prostitution crimes being committed by Backpage’s customers.
"Ferrer’s sudden capitulation launched a wild seven days for Backpage. A day after Ferrer’s first secret plea, the federal government arrested seven of Ferrer’s former colleagues, including Lacey and Larkin, and shut down Backpage’s websites in the U.S. and around the world. ...
"Then on Wednesday, President Trump signed into law “FOSTA,” the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, a bill inspired by the stories of children being prostituted on Backpage..."
And here's a story from Quartz that follows the work of economists researching the (not all bad) effects of internet marketplaces for prostitution.

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