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Bloomsburg is the only Pennsylvania municipality incorporated as a “town” and has a population 14,000 residents. It is the county seat of Columbia County, PA and is located 40 miles southwest of Wilkes-Barre along the Susquehanna River. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been well-documented in the city for decades. This activity and its ancillary crimes have resulted in complaints to local law enforcement from residents and businesses. Among the more serious issues associated with the local commercial sex market are child sex trafficking and child sexual abuse material (CSAM). For example, a 53-year-old Columbia County man “was one of two people charged in January 1997 for engaging a teenage girl in prostitution and producing pornographic images of her.” In 2017, a Bloomsburg-area teenager was reported missing by her parents after discovering images of their daughter were being posted on commercial sex websites. After discovering these photos, the parents attempted to contact their daughter but they were unable to reach her. Police believe that she was lured into a sex trafficking ring operating in Bronx, NY. As of 2022, she has yet to be found.
Efforts to reduce demand for commercial sex have been conducted in the city. For example, loss of employment and identity disclosure are consequences of buying sex that have occurred in the city. In May 2018, the mayor of Bloomsburg resigned after waiving his right to a hearing on charges of patronizing prostituted persons. Police had alleged that the Mayor had solicited sex from a Pennsylvania State Police confidential informant. He had negotiated a $200 fee for sex with the informant and arrived at the location, with cash and condoms in his pocket. He was taken into custody by police, according to court documents. The case was referred to the Office of Attorney General by the Columbia County District Attorney. According to the state attorney general, the Mayor also resigned as the town constable, effective immediately. He had served as a town councilman prior to becoming mayor.
Sex Buyer Arrest, Loss of Employment, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.wnep.com/article/news/local/columbia-county/bloomsburg-mayor-resigns-amid-prostitution-charges/ (2018)
- https://www.pahomepage.com/news/mayor-of-bloomsburg-resigns-waives-preliminary-hearing-for-soliciting-prostitutes (2018)
- https://www.dailyitem.com/news/local_news/bloomsburg-mayor-resigns-amid-sex-solicitation-charges/article (2018)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- Prison awaits man involved in child porn (1998)
- https://www.wnep.com/article/news/local/columbia-county/bloomsburg-area-teen-victim-of-sex-ring/ (2017)
- https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/missing-in-america/pennsylvania-teen-corinna-slusser-feared-victim-new-york-city-sex (2017)
- https://www.foxnews.com/us/mom-of-missing-pennsylvania-college-student-who-is-alleged-sex-trafficking-victim-speaks-out (2018)
- https://nypost.com/2019/11/26/pimp-gets-15-years-for-role-in-sex-ring-that-ensnared-missing-teen-corinna-slusser/ (2019)
- https://nypost.com/2021/11/14/how-ex-cheerleader-corinna-slusser-fell-victim-to-nyc-sex-ring/ (2021)
- https://abc7ny.com/corinna-paige-slusser-full-episode-missing-teen-true-crime-case/ (2022)