Buffalo, N.Y. - A Buffalo man man was arrested Thursday and charged with sex trafficking of minors.
Kenneth Graham, 24, of Amherst, N.Y., faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
According to the criminal complaint, between 2010 and August 2012, Graham recruited, promoted and profited from the prostitution activities of two minor girls knowing - or in reckless disregard of the fact - that the girls were under the age of 18. Graham also recruited, promoted and profited from a third victim, a woman in her 20s.
The complaint further alleges that the defendant placed advertisements on the web site backpage.com. One ad cited in the complaint read, "Amazingly Sexy Sweet Petite Companion 20 working out of the airport area." The acts took place in various hotels in the towns of Amherst, N.Y., and Cheektowaga, N.Y. The complaint further states that customers were charged $100 per half hour and $150 per hour.
Also according to the complaint, one of the minor female victims claims that Graham kidnaped her for a week and physically assaulted her.
"Human trafficking, in particular the sex trafficking of minors, is something that our office takes very seriously," said U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr., Western District of New York. "This defendant used physical threats to try and control these victims and now he will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Any individual who considers similar behavior will also be prosecuted and faces a potential life sentence if convicted."
"This arrest is the result of the great partnership HSI has with our law enforcement partners in western New York in our unyielding resolve to bring human traffickers to justice," said James C. Spero, special agent in charge of HSI Buffalo. "Sordid tales of human trafficking come to light every day. But because human trafficking is so widespread, no one entity can adequately address the problems it presents. Law enforcement throughout New York is committed to giving victims the help they need to come forward and help us end human trafficking. We remind the general public to be vigilant, and report any signs of human trafficking to law enforcement."
The arrest was the result of an investigation by HSI, Amherst Police Department, Cheektowaga Police Department and Buffalo Police Department.