Blooming Grove Township is a community with a population of about 4,700, located in Pike County, Pennsylvania. Pike County is included in the New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA Metropolitan Statistical Area. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in the Township and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of Pike County, and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market are sex trafficking and violence committed against people involved in these transactions.
Consumer-level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies in their strategy for prevention and response. For example, in August, 2019, police announced that they had uncovered a prostitution operation at a spa along Route 739 in Blooming Grove Township. The investigation led to the execution of a search warrant of the spa in June 2019, conducted by the PSP Vice Unit (Blooming Grove) and the Pike County District Attorney’s Office. While performing the search, Troopers initiated an undercover operation in order to identify those patronizing those offering prostitution services. Several males were arrested and charged after they tried to arrange paying female undercover Troopers for sex acts. In addition two women operating the brothel and offerring prostitution were arrested and the most serious charges included promoting prostitution and tampering with evidence.
Pike County law enforcement agencies has also assisted in reverse stings in other areas. For example, in October, 2018, the Pike County Detectives Office participated in a collaborative sting in Wayne County. Arrests include six male sex buyers, four female prostituted persons, and one trafficker. All six male sex buyers were charged with one count of patronizing prostitutes (a third degree misdemeanor) and one count of disorderly conduct, and their identities were released to the public. The sting involved agencies including the Wayne County Drug Task Force, Wayne County Children & Youth Service, Monroe County Detectives Office, FBI Violent Crimes Task Force.
- Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) Troop R Vice Unit
- Pike County Detectives Office
- Pike County District Attorney’s Office
- FBI Violent Crimes Task Force
Reverse Stings, Shaming:
- https://cseinstitute.org/eleven-arrested-in-wayne-county-prostitution-sting/ (2018)
- https://wnep.com/2019/08/14/prostitution-ring-uncovered-at-spa-in-pike-county/ (2019)
- https://www.moscowvillager.com/news/20190815/10-charged-in-prostitution-case (2019)
- https://www.wayneindependent.com/news/20190815/10-charged-in-prostitution-case (2019)
- https://www.pahomepage.com/top-stories/police-break-up-alleged-prostitution-ring-operating-out-of-pike-county-spa/ (2019)
- https://www.poconorecord.com/news/20190815/10-arrested-in-pike-county-prostitution-bust (2019)
- https://fox56.com/news/local/police-amystika-spa-busted-for-prostitution-owner-and-manager-try-to-cover-their-tracks (2019)
- https://www.thetimes-tribune.com/news/eight-people-face-charges-after-pike-county-massage-parlor-sting-1.2520549 (2019)