Portman, McCaskill Release Stunning New Report Detailing Findings From Bipartisan Sex Trafficking Investigation Into Backpage.com

January 9, 2017 | Press Releases

Report Follows 18 Month-Long PSI Investigation; Precedes Tomorrow’s Hearing on “Backpage.com’s Knowing Facilitation of Online Sex Trafficking”

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), today published a stunning new report detailing the Subcommittees findings from its 18 month-long investigation into the scourge of online sex trafficking. Tomorrow, the Senators will hold a public hearing titled “Backpage.com’s Knowing Facilitation of Online Sex Trafficking.” For the last two years, Portman and McCaskill have led an investigation into online sex trafficking facilitated by Backpage, resulting in a unanimous Senate vote to enforce the Subcommittee’s subpoena and a federal court order compelling Backpage to turn over responsive documents. The Subcommittee began its bipartisan investigation of human trafficking on the Internet in April 2015. With estimated annual revenues of more than $150 million, Backpage is a market leader in commercial sex advertising and has been linked to hundreds of reported cases of sex trafficking, including the trafficking of children.

The report’s three principal findings include:

·         Backpage has knowingly concealed evidence of criminality by systematically editing its “adult” ads. 

·         Backpage knows that it facilitates prostitution and child sex trafficking.

·         Despite the reported sale of Backpage to an undisclosed foreign company in 2014, the true beneficial owners of the company are James Larkin, Michael Lacey, and Carl Ferrer.

Scheduled to testify at tomorrow’s hearing are Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer, General Counsel Elizabeth McDougall, Chief Operations Officer Andrew Padilla, and company co-founders Michael Lacey and James Larkin, as well as several victims of Backpage’s practices. Cindy McCain will join Senators Portman and McCaskill immediately following the hearing for a press avail.

Additional information regarding tomorrow’s hearing can be found below:

HEARING:        Backpage.com’s Knowing Facilitation of Online Sex Trafficking.‎

WHEN:             Tuesday, January 10, 2017  


WHERE:           Room 342

Dirksen Senate Office Building



Carl Ferrer

Chief Executive Officer


James Larkin

Former Owner


Michael Lacey

Former Owner


Elizabeth McDougall

General Counsel


Andrew Padilla

Chief Operations Officer



Nacole S.

Mother of Jane Doe 1

Thomas S.

Father of Jane Doe 1 

Kubiiki P.

Mother of Jane Doe 2