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Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.

District Attorney, New York County

For Immediate Release
June 28, 2017

DA VANCE: SEX TRAFFICKER WHO TARGETED HOMELESS AND RUNAWAY TEENS CONVICTED AT TRIAL

Defendant Posted Online Ads Attempting to Recruit Individuals Seeking Refuge at Covenant House

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., announced the trial conviction of MICHAEL LAMB, 35, for operating a sex trafficking and prostitution scheme in New York and New Jersey that preyed upon disadvantaged youth. The defendant was found guilty by a New York State Supreme Court jury of two counts of Sex Trafficking and one count of Promoting Prostitution in the Third Degree. He is expected to be sentenced on September 12, 2017. 

“Like many sex traffickers, Michael Lamb targeted homeless and runaway teens, exploiting their vulnerabilities to maintain control,” said District Attorney Vance. “He attempted to blackmail his victims into working for him, including by threatening to send nude photographs to family members and high school classmates, further isolating them from their communities. Thankfully, dedicated advocates at Covenant House reported the defendant to authorities after he posted ads attempting to recruit teens seeking safe haven at their shelters. We are committed to collaborating with community-based service providers and advocates as we work toward our common goal: combatting sex trafficking and keeping survivors safe.”  

As proven at trial, between January 2013 and September 2015, LAMB posted ads on websites such as Backpage and Craigslist, including ads specifically recruiting female individuals staying at Covenant House, a shelter service for runaway and homeless youth in New York and New Jersey. Communicating by email, the defendant asked individuals who responded to the ads to send personal photos of themselves, and advertised his victims for sexual acts on the same sites that he used to recruit them. In some instances, when victims told the defendant that they did not want to work for him, LAMB threatened to expose the victims to their families and friends, referencing sensitive personal information that the victims had not voluntarily shared with the defendant. In other instances, LAMB threatened his victims with physical violence if they refused to comply with his demands. 

Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Dolle, Deputy Chief of the Human Trafficking Response Unit, handled the prosecution of the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Carolina Holderness, Chief of the Human Trafficking Response Unit; Assistant District Attorney Martha Bashford, Chief of the Sex Crimes Unit; Executive Assistant District Attorney Audrey Moore, Chief of the Special Victims Bureau; and Executive Assistant District Attorney John Irwin, Chief of the Trial Division. Supervising Investigator Elena Lui, Senior Investigators Steven Lane and Sean Ryan, Investigator Samuel Morales, and Analysts Hannah Wirt and Elizabeth MacNeil assisted with the case.

District Attorney Vance thanked Jayne Bigelsen, Director of Anti-Human Trafficking Initiatives at Covenant House New York, and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office for their assistance with the investigation.

Defendant Information:

MICHAEL LAMB, D.O.B. 10/28/1981
Newark, NJ

Convicted:

  • Sex Trafficking, a class B felony, 2 counts
  • Promoting Prostitution in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count