Canfield Township, OH

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Canfield Township has about 16,000 residents and is located southeast of Cleveland, Ohio in Mahoning County, near the Pennsylvania border. For several decades the area has been economically distressed, faring poorly in response to economic shifts and the reduction in local manufacturing. Prostitution and child sex trafficking are well-documented problems in the county and in Canfield Township. For example, in 2009 Canfield police arrested three people they believed were involved in a prostitution ring at a local motel. Detectives said the motel had been the subject of many complaints over the prior 10 years and the investigation began, with the help of the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Department, after a complaint of solicitation for sex at the business. The owner, a Canfield Township resident, was charged with a fourth-degree felony of promoting prostitution, and the charge alleged that he established, maintained, operated, managed, supervised, controlled, or had an interest in a brothel. The motel’s manager was charged with procuring prostitution. A male motel employee was charged with soliciting prostitution. Two Youngstown police officers who were from the Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force were sent in undercover four weeks earlier to gather evidence. An extensive investigation turned up records, documents, and cash at two Canfield motels, and police found that in both, prostituted people and informants were renting rooms out for 20 or 30 minutes at a time for a discounted rate. They would pay $20 for a room and tip the manager.

In February 2018, ten men were arrested in an operation called “Pedo-Cure,” according to the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office said the sting targeted those who tried to pick up underage boys and girls online. These individuals were looking for children as young as 12-years-old. One of the men arrested was a registered sex offender for past child sexual abuse materials (i.e., child pornography) charges. Another was on probation and had a prior sexual offense. Investigators said the suspects used computer and cell phone technology to meet their victims, gaining their trust over time and then eventually luring the children into meeting with them in person. The suspects made arrangements to meet the victims in Canfield Township. Agencies involved in the sting included the Sheriff’s Office, Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and Ohio State Highway Patrol, as well as the local human trafficking task force and other departments.

In March 2022, two men were arrested in a web-based sting conducted by the Mahoning County Human Trafficking Task Force. Both responded to an ad on social media for sex, allegedly planning to meet someone for prostitution, and were charged with engaging in prostitution and possessing criminal tools. The identities of both men were released to the press.

Key Partners

  • Canfield Township Police Department
  • Mahoning Sheriff’s Office
  • Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation
  • Ohio State Highway Patrol
State Ohio
Type City
Population 15530
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