The owner of CityXGuide, the website that users have described as having taken over where Backpage.com left off, has been indicted on sex trafficking charges and the site has been shut down.
According to the Justice Department on Friday, CityXGuide, a leading online source of ads for prostitution and trafficking, has been seized and the owner has been charged with 28 federal criminal counts.
Wilham Martono was indicted earlier this month on one count promotion of prostitution and reckless disregard of sex trafficking and on another separate count of interstate racketeering conspiracy, which means facilitating prostitution. Other charges included interstate transportation in aid of racketeering and money laundering. Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Secret Service arrested Martono last week.
Following his arrest, his website was officially seized and “replaced with a splash page notifying users that the website had been seized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security pursuant to a warrant,” according to a DOJ release.
“As soon as DOJ shut down one despicable site, another popped up to take its place,” said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox.
“Like the owners of Backpage, this defendant made millions facilitating the online exploitation of women and children. The Justice Department will not rest until these sites are eliminated and their owners held accountable for their crimes.”
Martono reportedly gained over $21 million from several websites promoting prostitution and sex trafficking having registered the domain names for the sites the day after federal authorities seized Backpage.com, a site that was long known for its promotion and facilitating of prostitution and sex trafficking, including the exploitation of minors.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter