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Luidji Benjamin, a/k/a “Zoe,” Sentenced In Manhattan Federal Court To 17 Years For Sex Trafficking Of Minors

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that LUIDJI BENJAMIN was sentenced today to 17 years in prison for sex trafficking of minor females.  BENJAMIN was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff, before whom BENJAMIN previously was convicted by a federal jury of one count of sex trafficking of a minor and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, following a five-day jury trial.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Luidji Benjamin sexually exploited vulnerable girls for his own financial gain.  This sexual predator damaged the lives of at least two young women, advertising their bodies for commercial sex.  Today Benjamin was justly sentenced to 17 years in prison for his callous and depraved exploitation.”

According to the allegations contained in the Indictment and evidence presented during the trial in Manhattan federal court:

From at least in or about Fall 2015 to in or about December 2015, LUIDJI BENJAMIN, a/k/a “Zoe,” the defendant, engaged in sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of two minor victims.  The defendant recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided, obtained, and maintained women for the purpose of commercial sex, including one minor victim (“Victim-1”) who resided at a residential treatment facility located in Westchester County, which provided housing for at-risk troubled children and adolescents on behalf of departments of social services for certain counties in New York State.

The defendant recruited Victim-1 to engage in commercial sex through a social media website, and he used Backpage.com and Craiglist.com, online classifieds websites, to post advertisements for commercial sex.  Certain of these advertisements included graphic images, including of Victim-1 performing oral sex on the defendant.  BENJAMIN directed Victim-1 to engage in commercial sex acts in cars and residences throughout Queens, New York. 

The defendant and a co-conspirator also recruited a second minor victim (“Victim-2”) to engage in commercial sex acts.  The defendant and his co-conspirator spent the proceeds of this scheme on marijuana, liquor, and other goods for themselves. 

This prosecution is part of an ongoing investigation that, including LUIDJ BENJAMIN, has charged 19 defendants, set forth in eight indictments, for the sex trafficking of at least 13 minor girls and young adults in New York State’s social services system. 

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In addition to his prison sentence, BENJAMIN, 23, of Queens, New York, was sentenced to five years of supervised release.

Any individuals who believe that they have information that may be relevant to this investigation should contact the FBI at 1-212-384-1000 or https://tips.fbi.gov.

Mr. Berman thanked the FBI and the NYPD for their outstanding work in this matter and, in particular, the New York Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force.

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Mollie Bracewell, Jacob Gutwillig, and Richard Cooper are in charge of the prosecution. 

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