The founder of several websites described as a "successor" to Backpage.com, the now-defunct website that facilitated illicit sex advertising, used gift cards and banks to launder millions of dollars and refused conventional online payments, federal prosecutors said Friday. In a 22-page indictment, prosecutors in Dallas claimed that Wilhan Martono, 46, ran CityXGuide, BodyRubShop, "Backpage.co" and dozens of other related websites that hosted hundreds of thousands of sex ads in the U.S. and abroad, making them "one of the world's largest digital marketplaces for prostitution and sex trafficking." Martono registered at least seven of his web domains on April 7, 2018,...
Financial institutions face new challenges in identifying human trafficking payments following the federal government’s dismantlement of Backpage.com, the most widely used high-profile website for advertising prostitution, say sources.
Several U.S. banks have intensified their efforts to spot sex trafficking payments following the federal shutdown of Backpage.com, including by cross-referencing their own know-your-customer data against dozens of other websites that advertise potentially illicit adult services.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas announced that the website CityXGuide.com was seized and its owner charged with money laundering and promotion of prostitution in a newly unsealed 28-count federal indictment.