East Lampeter Township, 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

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, 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 Prostitution has a long history throughout the county, as documented in historical documents dating back to the 1880s and through Temperance efforts to abolish the open trade in brothels in the early 1900s.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 prostitution 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 had grown in recent years.

To reduce demand for prostitution, 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 prostitution 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 a web-based prostitution sting at hotels in East Lampeter Township. The encounters occurred in residential neighborhoods that were regularly frequented by actual street-level prostitution. The East Hempfield Township Police Department assisted with the investigations. The identities of the arrested men were publicized.

In January 2023, the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office released data from its Human Trafficking Task Force (HTTF) one year after its creation. HTTF made 30 arrests in 2022, including sting operations on those soliciting prostitution and people soliciting minors for sexual activities. Police departments participating in the HTTF include East Hempfield Township, East Lampeter Township, Ephrata Police Department, Lancaster City Bureau of Police, Lancaster County Detectives, Lancaster County Sheriff’s Department, Lititz Borough, Manor Township, Northwest Regional, Pennsylvania State Police, and West Lampeter Township.

In February 2023, two men were arrested at a motel in East Lampeter Township after meeting an undercover female officer for what they thought was prostitution. The men had replied to online advertisements posted by the Lancaster County Human Trafficking Unit. Both were charged with one count of patronizing prostitutes and their identities were released to the press.

Key Partners

  • East Lampeter Township Police Department
  • Lancaster County Drug Task Force

Key Sources

Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Local Sex Trafficking and Prostitution:

State Pennsylvania
Type City
Population 17005
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