Carlisle, 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

Carlisle is a borough of approximately 20,500 residents in western Pennsylvania, near Harrisburg, and serves as the county seat of Cumberland County, PA. The city is known to have been on regional sex trafficking circuits since the 1980s, if not before, and local prostitution has been a persistent problem, particularly along interstate trucking routes. Situated along I-81, the area has been described as “an artery  for drug and sex trafficking,” and community residents have reported spikes in prostitution and sex trafficking in and around the area’s four major truck stops. These four truck stops make up what is known as “Miracle Mile” – a stretch of highways that connect Interstate 81 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Reports of violence against individuals engaging in commercial sex, targeted homicide of prostituted persons, and sexual assault/rape of prostituted persons have been documented to occur as a result of prostitution-related activity at these trucks stops. The need for enhanced law enforcement regarding prostitution in the county occurred after the body of a 44-year-old woman was spotted by a motorist along the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Plainfield, PA. Investigators throughout the country added the woman’s name to a list of more than 30 women who were victims to what they believe is a ring of truckers who have targeted and killed women involved in prostitution. One of the other victims was last seen alive at the Middlesex Township truck stop area where she was engaging in prostitution. In February 2004, a 16-year-old girl was found alive along the Pennsylvania Turnpike near the Middlesex truck stops, around mile marker 232 in Silver Spring Township. The victim acknowledged she was engaged in prostitution and her assailant was a man who she believed would pay for sex acts. Police believe that she was also a victim of the large-scale sex trafficking ring operating in the area during that time. In 2005, the city was reported to be a major “transfer” point in a dismantled child sex trafficking network.

Reverse stings and other tactics focusing on consumer-level demand have been deployed at truck stops with women serving as decoys, soliciting offers from male sex buyers traveling through the area. In 1996, truck stops in Carlisle began selling bumper stickers for trucks that read “No Lot Lizards,” in efforts to deter male truck drivers from soliciting prostitution at local truck stops. In 2004, local truck stop representatives joined local law enforcement agencies to announce increased enforcement to combat ongoing problems with prostitution in Middlesex Township and Carlisle, and nearby communities in Cumberland County. Police committed to conducting undercover stings at truck plazas and motels, increase patrols, and monitor and record citizen band radio traffic. Police frequently release the images of arrested male sex buyers to local media outlets. The maximum penalty is up to a year in prison. The district attorney said illegal sex acts in cars will warrant a detainment and search of the vehicle for trace evidence.

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings, Auto Seizure, Neighborhood Action:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

Research Reports:

State Pennsylvania
Type City
Population 20406
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