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All invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
(Cliff Owen/AP) A contractor for the controversial classifieds website has been aggressively soliciting and creating sex-related ads, despite Backpage’s repeated insistence that it had no role in the content of ads posted on its site, according to a trove of newly discovered documents.
From left: chief executive Carl Ferrer, co-founder James Larkin, chief operating officer Andrew Padilla and co-founder Michael Lacey are sworn in on Capitol Hill on Jan.
10 before a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee hearing into Backpage.com's alleged facilitation of online sex trafficking.
The Senate report said that more than 93 percent of Backpage’s ad revenue in 2011 came from its adult section, leading to 5 million in gross revenue in 2014, with projected revenue of nearly 0 million by 2019.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said that 73 percent of the 10,000 child sex trafficking reports it receives from the public each year involve ads on Backpage.
An investigation by a Senate subcommittee revealed earlier this year found that Backpage was editing ads to remove language indicating underage girls were available, rather than removing the ads. Mc Dougall has said that Backpage acts as “the sheriff of the Internet” and that sex ads would be dispersed among sites in other countries if Backpage stopped posting them.
“Backpage has been righteously indignant throughout our investigation,” said Sen. Backpage, based in Dallas, is an online classified ad service similar to Craigslist, with sites operating in at least 97 countries and 943 locations, enabling users to buy and sell cars, audio equipment, concert tickets — and “adult services,” seemingly a smorgasbord of barely disguised prostitution ads.
Everybody knows they’re doing it, and they’re not being held accountable.” Backpage has not responded to the suit, which was filed in May.
In late June, federal agents arrested the man who allegedly had been posting Backpage ads for Desiree, which described her as “Nicki,” who was “new in town” and “looking for upscale Gentlemen to have a great time with.” The FBI alleged that Joseph Hazley, 33, would drive her to appointments for “commercial sex” and collected some or all of the money she was paid.