#sextrafficking | Her innovative approach to combating sex trafficking has drawn national attention | #tinder | #pof | #match

Readers of this newspaper will know the name Erin Nealy Cox as well as the powerful prosecutorial work of the woman who, on Nov. 17, 2017, was sworn in as the 35th United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas.

Indeed, this newspaper has reported extensively on Nealy Cox’s pioneering efforts to combat the heinous crime of sex trafficking on both the supply and the demand side of that disgraceful multibillion-dollar criminal industry.

Chief among those was shutting down the infamous CityXGuide website last June and arresting its owner, Wilhan Martono, on more than two dozen federal charges, including reckless disregard of sex trafficking, facilitating prostitution and money laundering. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in a federal prison.

But Nealy Cox and her team didn’t stop there. They painstakingly built a federal case against the traffickers who used CityXGuide to advertise — often with shockingly graphic photos — the sale of girls and young women for sex, as well as the “johns” who answered those ads and paid to abuse minors.

As we wrote in September — after Nealy Cox’s office, in partnership with local law enforcement, rescued a 13-year-old girl from a West Irving hotel where she was being held against her will and sold for sex; then built a case and arrested the girl’s alleged trafficker and two johns — her “holistic approach” is “precisely what’s needed to bring down the sex trafficking industry in Texas and across the country.”

Nealy Cox’s leadership on this issue, as well as her groundbreaking work to assure that financial restitution is awarded to sex-trafficking victims, is more than enough to earn her a spot among our finalists for Texan of the Year.

As she told us earlier this year, “Trafficking victims suffer incredible hardship — physically, mentally and financially. … While restitution can never make survivors whole, we hope it can ease their path to a better life.” That combination of human compassion and prosecutorial zeal is one of the reasons why Nealy Cox has accomplished so much in her three years as U.S. Attorney. Sadly, as she announced this week, she is stepping down early next month. President Joe Biden will nominate her successor.

But the truth is the accomplishments of this longtime Texan — a graduate of both the University of Texas at Austin and the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law — are so extensive and varied, she could have been chosen as a finalist for her work on many fronts, including her national leadership on combating domestic violence, using federal gun-crime laws to get violent offenders off the streets, and raising awareness about the threat of Chinese economic espionage.

For all these accomplishments — and for all her efforts to make our community, our state and our nation a safer and more just place — we’re proud to name Erin Nealy Cox as a finalist for 2020 Texan of the Year.


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