Canton, PA

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

Canton is a borough of approximately 1,900 residents in Pennsylvania located in Bradford County, PA. Although there have been relatively few reports of prostitution and sex trafficking in the borough of Canton, instances of commercial sex have occurred in the city and have been well-documented in the greater county area. Due to a boom in oil and gas drilling in the area, the Bradford County has reportedly experienced a sharp increase in drunken driving, bar fights, and commercial sex activity, that residents and law enforcement largely attribute to the influx of men with extra of money in their pockets and minimal activities to do after work. The county has also faced issues with illicit massage businesses (IMBs) serving as fronts for prostitution. For example, in 2008, two prostituted women were arrested at a local IMB after they allegedly attempted to solicit undercover officers for sex. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is child sex trafficking.

In efforts to reduce prostitution and sex trafficking activity, tactics focused on reducing the demand for commercial sex have been implemented in the borough. For example, in 2018, 12 male sex buyers were arrested as a result of a web-based reverse sting operation conducted by the Canton Borough Police Office. According to a Canton Borough Police Officer, despite the small size of the borough, commercial sex is still an issue in the area,

“Just because it’s not jumping out at us, doesn’t mean it’s not there.”

During the web-based reverse sting the officer reported that, “the department posted a fake profile in efforts to bring individuals soliciting sex in the area through online sources to justice.”

In addition to reverse sting operations, sex buyers have been arrested as a result of alternative investigations spurred by residential reports to local law enforcement. For example, in 2017, the then-Canton mayor was charged with patronizing prostitution, a misdemeanor of the third degree. According to police, officers made contact with the suspect and a female at his residence on East Union Street and conducted an investigation for the next two weeks based on “serious allegations,” reported to the CBPO. An officer interviewed the then-mayor, “who admitted to paying a female he made contact with on $300 in exchange for a sexual act.”  The former mayor was arrested and arraigned with a Release on your Own Recognizance (ROR) bail and a preliminary hearing. He was not fired from his position because he had recently lost reelection and his term was ending in two months. His identity and image were included in reports by local media outlets.

State Pennsylvania
Type City
Population 1892
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