Kenneth Graham, 24, was taken into custody Friday in Amherst by federal and local authorities and was being held on federal charges of sex trafficking involving minors for the alleged prostitution of at least three local girls, two of whom were under age 18, The (Buffalo, N.Y.) News reported.
Prosecutors said Graham's operation began in 2010 and was in business until August, and that he advertised the prostitutes on backpage.com.
One of the minors told investigators Graham physically assault her and forced her to work for him.
"Human trafficking and in particular the sex trafficking of minors, is something that our office takes very seriously. This defendant used physical threats to try and control these victims and now he will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Anyone who considers similar behavior will also be prosecuted and faces a potential life sentence if convicted," said U.S. Attorney William Hochul Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York.
If found guilty of the charges against him, Graham faces at least 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.