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Press Release

Sean Merchant, a/k/a “Bronxwood,” Sentenced To More Than 16 Years In Prison For Sex Trafficking Of Minors

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that SEAN MERCHANT was sentenced today to 196 months in prison for sex trafficking of three minor females.  MERCHANT was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood, before whom he previously pled guilty to one count of sex trafficking of a minor.  As part of his plea, MERCHANT acknowledged that he trafficked three minor females.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Sean Merchant preyed upon three minor females who had previously resided at a residential treatment facility for at-risk children and adolescents.  Merchant placed these young women in harm’s way by enticing them to perform commercial sex acts for money, and in turn providing them with addictive drugs.  It is hard to imagine a more selfish and inhumane act than coercing a minor to have sex with strangers for profit, and Merchant has justly been sentenced to more than 16 years in prison for his outrageous conduct.”  

According to the allegations contained in the Indictment and other court documents filed in Manhattan federal court:

From at least in or about March 2017 to at least in or about October 2017, SEAN MERCHANT, a/k/a “Bronxwood,” the defendant, engaged in the sex trafficking and sexual exploitation of three minor victims (“Minor Victim-1,” “Minor Victim-2,” and “Minor Victim-3,” and together, the “Minor Victims”).  The defendant recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided, obtained, and maintained the Minor Victims for the purpose of commercial sex.  Prior to being trafficked by MERCHANT, each of the Minor Victims previously resided at a residential treatment facility located in Westchester County, which provided housing for at-risk troubled children and adolescents on behalf of department of social services for certain counties in New York State.           

The defendant recruited the Minor Victims to engage in commercial sex.  Subsequently, the defendant used the website, an online classifieds website, to post advertisements of the Minor Victims for commercial sex.  The defendant provided Minor Victim-1 and Minor Victim-2 with drugs, and directed them to engage in commercial sex acts in particular locations in the Bronx, New York.

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In addition to his prison sentence, MERCHANT, 32, was sentenced to five years of supervised release.

MERCHANT is the third defendant to be sentenced in this case by Judge Wood for his participation in sex trafficking of minors.  Steven Lesane, who pled guilty to sex trafficking of two minor victims, was sentenced to a term of 256 months in prison on July 27, 2021.  Jermaine Myrie, who pled guilty to participating in a conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor, was sentenced to a term of 135 months in prison on February 12, 2020.  Reuben Sands, who pled guilty to conspiracy to violate the Travel Act, was sentenced to a term of 60 months in prison on December 18, 2019.  The final defendant, Martique Mcgriff, is scheduled to be sentenced on December 8, 2021.

This case is part of an ongoing prosecution of 19 defendants, set forth in eight indictments, for the sex trafficking of at least 20 minor girls and young adults in New York State’s social services system.  All 19 of the defendants have been convicted, either via guilty plea or following trial. 

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

Mr. Williams 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, Elinor Tarlow, Jacob Gutwillig, and Peter Davis are in charge of the prosecution. 

Updated October 12, 2021

Project Safe Childhood
Human Trafficking
Press Release Number: 21-273