Altoona is a city in Blair County, Pennsylvania, located in the central part of the state along the interstate 99 corridor. It is the principal city of the “Altoona Metropolitan Statistical Area” and has a population of approximately 44,000. Prostitution and sex trafficking are well documented problems occurring in Altoona. For example, in July, 2018 Blair County prosecutors filed a wide range of charges against the alleged mastermind of a local child prostitution ring, which included sexual exploitation of children (a second degree felony); unlawful contact or communication with a minor (a first degree felony); corruption of minors (a third degree felony); manufacturing, delivering, or possessing with the intent to manufacture or deliver (a felony); trafficking in minors (a first degree felony); designing or copying obscene material (a Class 1 misdemeanor); criminal solicitation ( a first degree felony); knowingly or permitting a child to be photographed, filmed, or depicted on a computer engaged in a sex act (a first degree felony); knowingly or permitting a child to be photographed, filmed, or depicted on a computer engaged in a sex act (a first degree felony); and child pornography (a second degree felony).
Local police have publicly released the identities of sex buyers in Altoona. For example, it September, 2014, an Altoona man rendered guilty pleas to promoting or encouraging prostitution involving a sixteen year old and her 12-year-old sister. The man rendered guilty pleas to charges of child pornography possession in exchange for a sentence for an incarceration period of three to six years, to be followed by five years’ probation and register as a sex offender. Police investigations found messages between the man and the 16-year-old girl indicating that he would pay her $100 for sex and that he offered a diamond bracelet if she would bring the 12-year-old. Police said the teenager refused. The offender was found with a cache of suspected child pornography on his computer. State investigators traced the transmission of computerized child pornography images and videos to an Altoona residence where the man was living at the time with a girlfriend and two children. While this case was not an instance of a proactive operation to identify and arrest sex buyers, it is classified as shaming on Demand Forum since it was a case publicizing the identity of an arrested sex buyer.
- Altoona Police Department
Shaming of arrested sex buyer:
Background on local prostitution and sex trafficking: