East Lampeter Township is a community in south-central Pennsylvania, near Lancaster in Lancaster County Its population is about 17,00. East Lampeter Township is one of the six suburbs that border the city of, all sharing the same ZIP code with Lancaster. Prostitution and child sex trafficking are well-documented problems in the township. Prostitution has a long history throughout the county, as documented in historical documents dating back to the 1880s and through Temperance efforts to abolish the open trade in brothels in the early 1900s. In contemporary times, prostitution has posed persistent and visible problems in the area, and has generated numerous complaints to police. For example, For example, in November 2013 seven people were charged in a prostitution investigation at motels along Route 30 in East Lampeter Township. Two alleged pimps were among those also arrested in the investigation. A 17 year old girl was also arrested, even though by legal definition she was too young to consent to commercial sex and therefore was a sex trafficking victim (she was released to her parents’ custody). Officials said prostitution has long been an issue along the Route 30 strip, particularly in inexpensive motel rooms, and that the problem has grown in recent years.
To reduce demand for commercial sex, the East Lampeter Township Police Department and Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office have worked with local police departments to incorporate the use of street-level reverse stings since the early 1990s. Operations involve the use of an undercover female officer as a decoy. When sex buyers solicit sex from the officer, they are promptly arrested. Police often release arrestees’ names, ages, photos, and other identifying information to the local media. For example, in March 2014, seven people were charged in a sting operation at hotels in East Lampeter Township; four males were charged with misdemeanor patronizing prostitution, and their identities were released to news outlets. In November, 2016 seven men were charged in web-based prostitution sting at hotels in East Lampeter Township. The encounters occurred in neighborhoods that are regularly frequented by actual street level prostitutes that often occur in residential neighborhoods. The East Hempfield Township Police Department assisted with the investigations. The identities of the arrested men were publicized.
- East Lampeter Township Police Department
- Lancaster County Drug Task Force
Reverse stings, shaming:
- https://www.pennlive.com/midstate/2014/04/prostitution_sting_results_in.html (2014)
- https://lancaster.crimewatchpa.com/eastlampeter/9004/cases/prostitution-arrests-east-lampeter-twp (2016)
- https://lancasteronline.com/news/local/11-arrested-in-prostitution-sting-in-east-lampeter-twp/article_375a0d42-a794-11e6-8f59-4341314096f6.html (2016)
- https://www.abc27.com/news/police-arrest-11-in-lancaster-county-prostitution-sting/1037228232/ (2016)
Background on local sex trafficking and prostitution:
- https://www.wgal.com/article/7-arrested-in-connection-with-ongoing-prostitution-investigation/6228700 (2013)
- https://www.wgal.com/article/police-close-down-prostitution-ring-in-lancaster-county/5936755 (2015)
- https://www.abc27.com/news/local/jury-convicts-lancaster-woman-of-prostitution/ (2019)