Boss of 'Top Online Brothel' Charged With Pimping CEO arrested in Texas
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2016 1:31 AM CDT
This photo released by the Texas Attorney General's Office shows Carl Ferrer.   (Texas Attorney General's Office via AP)

(Newser) – The CEO of isn't just a pimp, authorities in California and Texas say, he's the pimp of "the world's top online brothel"—and underage victims of sex trafficking have made him a lot of money. Carl Ferrer was arrested in Houston Thursday on a warrant issued in California, where Attorney General Kamala D. Harris says the classified-ad website was designed to be an online brothel, the Washington Post reports. "Raking in millions of dollars from the trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable victims is outrageous, despicable, and illegal," Harris said in a statement.

Ferrer faces charges of pimping a minor, pimping, and conspiracy to commit pimping, while two of the website's controlling shareholders also face pimping charges, USA Today reports. looks a lot like, with ads for jobs, apartments, etc., but authorities say around 99% of its income comes from its "adult" section. In a press release, Harris said since 2012, there have been nearly 3,000 reports of suspected child sex trafficking via Backpage in California alone. She said Ferrer was charged after a three-year investigation that involved undercover officers posing as both advertisers and customers on Backpage.