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Butler Township is a township in western Pennsylvania of approximately 17,000 residents. It is situated just north of Pittsburg and is located in Butler County, PA. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the township and surrounding areas of the county. This activity and its ancillary crimes has resulted in complaints to local law enforcement from residents and businesses. The area has also experienced issues with illicit massage businesses (IMBs) serving as fronts for prostitution in the area. Police have conducted investigations into the IMBs that have resulted in the arrests of prostituted women. Among the more serious issues associated with the local commercial sex market is child sex trafficking and child sexual abuse material (CSAM).
While there have been no reports of traditional reverse sting operations being conducted in Butler Township, police have been known to arrest sex buyers and sex traffickers through alternative investigations or through residential reports to local law enforcement. For example, in July, 2022, a man who purchased access to sexually abuse a child was convicted in federal court for sex trafficking. Over three-year period of time, beginning in 2017, a truck driver paid the minor victim, who was 14 years-old when the man first met her, hundreds of dollars in cash for sex on approximately 10 occasions, and produced two videos of his sexual exploitation of the child. The used social media accounts – including Snapchat and multiple Facebook accounts – to communicate with the girl. Messages between the offender and victim were presented during trial, which prosecutors stated demonstrated that the man used these accounts to maintain control over, manipulate and exploit his victim. The investigation was initiated in the Fall of 2020, when the victim walked into the Butler Township Police station and told law enforcement about the crimes committed against her by the man. The offender’s identity and image were included in reports by local media outlets.
Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdpa/pr/federal-jury-finds-truck-driver-guilty-sex-trafficking-minor-and-production-child-sex (2022)
- https://www.cranberryeagle.com/2022/07/13/chicago-truck-driver-faces-prison-sentence-for-sex-trafficking-butler-county-minor/ (2022)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- https://www.wpxi.com/news/hotel-employees-help-police-bust-prostitution-ring (2011)
- https://www.ncnewsonline.com/news/local_news/local-woman-accused-in-prostitution-ring/article (2013)
- https://www.butlereagle.com/20180711/four-get-ard-probation-in-massage-parlor-prostitution-case/ (2018)
- https://cseinstitute.org/woman-arrested-for-prostitution-in-fbi-crack-down-in-butler-county/ (2019)
- https://www.wpxi.com/news/top-stories/butler-prostitution-fbi-working-with-local-police-to-crack-down-on-prostitution (2019)
- https://www.butlereagle.com/20220208/fbi-agent-gives-talk-to-community-on-trafficking-2/ (2022)