Texas Advocate Accepted Ken Paxton approached Election Day with a admonishing about his Democratic amateur and a all-around babble about his own crime-fighting prowess.
In a TV ad, Paxton accuses Democrat Justin Nelson of active a abrogating attack — and again goes abrogating on Nelson’s “liberal agenda.” The narrator closes by adage Paxton “shut bottomward the world’s better animal trafficking marketplace.”
We were curious. Did Texas’ advocate accepted absolutely do that?
Jordan Berry, a Paxton attack consultant, responded to our appeal for absolute advancement with an email advertence the affirmation ties to the shuttering in April 2018 of Backpage.com, a classified ads website founded by Arizona-based ally in 2004 that abnormally flourished by announcement ads focused on . Berry additionally acicular out addition Paxton TV ad in which the narrator says Paxton “helped” shut bottomward the “criminal enterprise.”
We didn’t atom acceptance in the abstracts offered by Berry that Backpage.com was the “world’s better animal trafficking marketplace.” More limited: A 2017 U.S. Senate agents address that Berry acicular out accounted the armpit the “leading online exchange for bartering .”
Among experts on trafficking, Laura Agustín, who has advised migrants and work, responded to our concern with an email adage that individuals angry to ads on the Backpage armpit for assorted reasons. “There is no ‘marketplace,’ ” Agustín wrote, “but rather all sorts of bodies affairs and affairs for their own reasons, some of them miserable.”
Other experts told us there’s no analysis to abutment Paxton’s better trafficking exchange characterization.
Alexandra Levy, a University of Notre Dame accessory assistant who studies trafficking, said that as an empiric matter, you’d charge to appraise every “human trafficking marketplace” for comparison. Also, Levy said, “the accepted abstraction that Backpage was a cesspool of animal corruption is unfounded. It was absolutely a abode area law administration begin a lot of victims — but that ability aloof be because it was a decidedly arresting venue,” Levy wrote.
So, did Paxton shut bottomward Backpage.com?
His bureau had a duke in the shutdown, we confirmed.
In October 2016, Paxton appear that in bike with California authorities, Texas had arrested Backpage’s CEO, Carl Ferrer. The Texas advocate general’s appointment said in a columnist absolution about Ferrer’s arrest that a collective analysis by the offices of the Texas and California attorneys accepted “uncovered affirmation that developed and adolescent trafficking victims were affected into corruption through escort ads that appeared again on Backpage.”
We additionally clicked online to the asleep Backpage site, which we begin mostly covered up by a message, anachronous April 6, advertence that Texas played a acknowledging role in shutting bottomward the armpit and company.
The bulletin says that backpage.com “and affiliated websites accept been bedeviled as allotment of an administration action” by the FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Internal Revenue Service.
The Texas AG’s appointment was mentioned in the message’s aing area advertisement agencies that participated in and supported.
An April 9 Justice Department press absolution proclaimed, “Justice Department Leads Accomplishment to Seize Backpage.Com, the Internet’s Leading Forum for Corruption Ads, and Obtains 93-Count Federal Indictment.”
Levy, the Notre Dame expert, told us, “Paxton did not shut bottomward Backpage — the federal government did.” Levy added that back Backpage.com was closed, the accordant federal law, Area 230 of the Communications Decency Act, didn’t about accord accompaniment attorneys accepted “the ability to arraign platforms (like Backpage) for agreeable acquaint by third parties,” admitting Congress afterwards adapted the law, Levy wrote.
Summing up, Levy said the Texas AG “could not by any amplitude be credibly advised a primary enforcer” in the Backpage.com shutdown.
From Berry, we fielded what he declared as filings demonstrating that action spearheaded in accompaniment cloister by the Texas advocate general’s appointment led to Ferrer accordant to shut bottomward Backpage.
The abstracts were filed April 9 in a Nueces County accompaniment commune cloister — three canicule afterwards authorities shut bottomward Backpage and the aforementioned day Sessions appear that shutdown. They accommodate a appeal arrangement acceding in which Ferrer agreed to anon booty accomplish to assuredly shut bottomward Backpage.com globally. Ferrer additionally pleaded accusable to money bed-making and, accepted “use immunity,” agreed to abet with prosecutors in Texas and California. According to addition certificate filed with the court, Ferrer pleaded accusable to trafficking and agreeable in organized bent action in what the certificate declared as accomplishments accompanying to one accessory accountable to do assignment in affiliation with Backpage.com.
We asked Levy to analysis the provided documents. Do they authenticate Paxton’s bureau steered the multi-government accomplishment to aing Backpage? Levy said not, writing: “The admiral had already bedeviled Backpage by the time those pleas were signed.”
Paxton says he “shut bottomward the world’s better animal trafficking marketplace.”
We see an aspect of accuracy to this claim: The Texas advocate general’s appointment helped shut bottomward the Backpage website, which is what addition Paxton ad says. However, the federal government led the abeyance and admiral in added states pitched in.
Significantly too, we contrarily landed no acceptance that the Backpage site, which profited from ads about , additionally was the world’s better trafficking exchange — a allocation that experts begin arguable and unverifiable.
All told, we amount this account Mostly False.
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