Case No. 3:20-CR-00274-N
In June 2020, the website cityxguide.com (“CityXGuide”)—a leading source of online advertisements for prostitution and sex trafficking—was seized by Homeland Security Investigations pursuant to a warrant. Wilhan Martono, the creator, owner, and operator of CityXGuide, was charged in a 28-count indictment with promotion of prostitution and reckless disregard of sex trafficking, interstate racketeering conspiracy (facilitating prostitution), interstate transportation in aid of racketeering (facilitating prostitution), and money laundering. In August 2021, Martono pled guilty to Promotion and Facilitation of Prostitution and Reckless Disregard of Sex Trafficking in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2421A and Conspiracy to Engage in Interstate and Foreign Travel and Transportation In Aid of Racketeering Enterprises in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371.
Martono created, owned, and operated a network of websites, including CityXGuide, that posted hundreds of thousands of prostitution advertisements in locations across the United States and around the world. CityXGuide allowed pimps, prostitutes, and brothels to post and pay for advertisements that featured an explicit list of “intimate activities,” along with nude or partially nude photographs, a physical description, work hours, methods of payment, and contact information for the female being advertised.
Martono purchased the domain names of CityXGuide and its related websites, purchased and maintained the servers that hosted the websites, and purchased the server space, server equipment, and blocks of Internet Protocol (“IP”) addresses—including more than 95 unique IP addresses—to operate the websites.
Martono designed CityXGuide to offer paid advertisement “upgrades,” which could be purchased in Bitcoin or in exchange for gift cards from Walmart, Best Buy, Lowe’s, Amazon, and other retailers. Martono used CardCash, a third-party gift card reseller, to exchange batches of gift cards for U.S. currency. He would then funnel the money obtained from his transactions with CardCash through a network of bank accounts to be used for personal expenses and to maintain CityXGuide. Martono also took steps to conceal his online activity by routing website traffic through an IP address in Europe and using a VPN to mask his IP address.
Law enforcement has identified numerous minor victims in CityXGuide advertisements, including a 13-year-old Jane Doe recovered in North Texas in November 2019 and a 16-year-old Jane Doe recovered in North Texas in March 2020. Martono received numerous emails from federal, state, and local law enforcement officers across the country, informing him that CityXGuide was being used to facilitate sex trafficking and child exploitation. He also received numerous subpoenas for subscriber information, IP addresses, and other records related to these investigations. Martono did not respond.
CityXGuide victims are afforded rights under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CRVA) and may be eligible for restitution.
Potential victims include minors whose commercial sex services were advertised on Cityxguide.com or a related website (including Cityxguide.net, Cityxguide.co, Cityxguide.be, Bodyrubshop.com, CAPleasures.com, or Backpage.co), as well as those who were subject to force, threats of force, fraud, and/or coercion at the time they were advertised on CityXGuide or a related website. Individuals do not need to reside in the Northern District of Texas to be considered victims in this case.
Victims are encouraged to submit the victim questionnaire attached below, which will allow them to outline any physical or mental health injuries they sustained as a result of human trafficking and to share their thoughts on the sentence the judge should impose on Mr. Martono.
Please submit this questionnaire to USATXN.CityXGuideVictims@usdoj.gov. You may contact the Victim Witness Hotline at 1-800-496-8341 with any questions. Victims are also eligible to make a victim impact statement orally and/or in writing at the sentencing hearing.
Under the CVRA, victims are entitled to timely notice of public court proceedings, the right to be treated with respect for their dignity and privacy, and the right to be reasonably heard at any public sentencing proceeding. For a more detailed description of victims' rights under the law, click here.
06/02/2020 – Wilhan Martono is indicted
06/17/2020 – Wilhan Martono is arrested and CityXGuide is seized
08/24/2021 – Wilhan Marton pleads guilty