Brooklyn, New York Man Pleads Guilty To Sex Trafficking And Drug Distribution
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Vermont
The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced today that Diheim Young, age 32, of Brooklyn, New York has pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to distribute heroin and crack cocaine in Rutland, Vermont as well as a conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking women between Vermont and New York. Young pleaded guilty to sex trafficking five women between 2012 and 2015. Four of the women were Vermont residents at the time they were trafficked.
According to the public record, Young worked with a series of women who assisted him in the drug trade. These women sold drugs for him, transported him to meet drug customers in and around Rutland, Vermont and transported him to New York City to pick up drugs from his source of supply. When the women were sufficiently addicted to be dependent upon him, Young turned their addictions against them as a means of controlling them. With some of the women, he convinced them to travel to New York City with him under false pretenses and once there, he forced them to prostitute themselves either by posting advertisements on a website called Backpage or by forcing them to walk what is known as “the track.” If the women refused to engage in prostitution, Young withheld drugs from those who were addicted knowing that they would get sick from withdrawal. Young would also hit the women or threaten to hit them if they refused to do as Young said or attempted to escape.
With some of the Vermont women, Young also confiscated their cell phones and identification documents as a means of isolating and controlling them once they were in New York. One of Young’s siblings made his apartment in Brooklyn, New York, available for use as part of the sex trafficking scheme. This residence was used as a location to photograph the women for purpose of creating Backpage advertisements, which Young used to advertise some of the women for sale to potential sex buyers. Young also held the women at the Brooklyn apartment where he assaulted them physically and sexually if they refused to engage in commercial sex acts or tried to leave him. Young took the proceeds earned by the women for engaging in forced prostitution and threatened them that if they stopped providing him with these prostitution proceeds, he would harm them further.
Young is scheduled to be sentenced on November 7, 2016. At sentencing, Young faces up to lifetime imprisonment for the sex trafficking crimes, as well as a maximum of five years supervised release, a $5,000 special assessment, and mandatory restitution for the victims. His sentence will be advised by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
United States Attorney Eric Miller commends the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Southern Vermont Drug Task Force, and the Rutland Police Department, who worked together in this investigation. Miller highlighted the United States Attorney's Office’s intense focus on preventing and prosecuting human trafficking in Vermont. In November 2015, the Office produced a public service announcement designed to help prevent human trafficking and to put trafficking victims in touch with the services they need. That PSA, which won a national Telly Award, can be viewed at UCanStopTraffick.org. In the wake of Mr. Young's guilty plea, Miller added, "Our office is equally committed to preventing and prosecuting human trafficking in Vermont. This case demonstrates that we will vigorously investigate and hold accountable drug dealers who coerce addicts into performing commercial sex for profit."
The United States is represented in this case by Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather E. Ross. The defendant is represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender Elizabeth Quinn.
Updated July 6, 2016