T-cells play a crucial role in progression of autoimmunity, including vitiligo, yet the initial steps triggering their activation and tissue damage remain unknown. Here we demonstrate increased presence of type-1 innate lymphoid cells (NK and ILC1)-producing interferon gamma (IFNγ) in the blood and in non-lesional skin of vitiligo patients. Melanocytes of vitiligo patients have strong basal expression of chemokine-receptor-3 (CXCR3) isoform B which is directly regulated by IFNγ. CXCR3B activation by CXCL10 at the surface of cultured human melanocytes induces their apoptosis. The remaining melanocytes, activated by the IFNγ production, express co-stimulatory markers which trigger T-cell proliferation and subsequent anti-melanocytic immunity. Inhibiting the CXCR3B activation prevents this apoptosis and the further activation of T cells. Our results emphasize the key role of CXCR3B in apoptosis of melanocytes and identify CXCR3B as a potential target to prevent and to treat vitiligo by acting at the early stages of melanocyte destruction.