Jefferson County, 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

Jefferson County is a county of approximately 45,000 residents located in western Pennsylvania, along Interstate 80. Its county seat is Brookville PA. Prostitution has been reported at truck stops along I-80 and secondary roads in the county. This activity and its ancillary crimes has resulted in complaints to local law enforcement from residents and businesses. In response to these complaints, local law enforcement has been known to conduct prostitution investigations, focused on arresting prostituted persons in the area. Complaints are commonly from truckers who dislike being propositioned while they sleep in their rigs or using CB radios at county truck stops. Among the more serious issues associated with the local commercial sex market is child sex trafficking.

Efforts to combat prostitution and sex trafficking activity have included those focused on reducing the demand for commercial sex by arresting sex buyers in the county. Local and county law enforcement have been conducting street-level reverse stings since the 1980s, if not earlier. In response to numerous complaints about prostitution in the area, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Brookville Borough Police Department often collaborate to conduct CB radio-based reverse stings at highway truck stops along I-80. For example, in 2002, a joint street-level reverse sting resulted in the arrest of six truckers on solicitation of prostitution charges. The identities, ages, and hometowns of those arrested were reported in the news with details of the operations. The men arrested in 2002 could have faced fines of up to$500, but instead were fined $100 plus $93 in court costs.

More recent efforts to combat demand for commercial sex in the county have included web-based reverse sting operations where undercover female officers posing as prostituted woman post decoy ads online and communicate with suspected sex buyers. At times, these operations have expanded to focus on arresting individuals seeking to sexually exploit minors in exchange for money. For example, in January 2019, Brookville Borough Police arrested a man in an ongoing sex trafficking sting by the department. According to police, an unnamed 37-year-old man contacted Officer Turnbull, who was working undercover, with the intent to trade Adderall for sexual acts. According to police, the man agreed to a location and specified a certain number of pills in exchange for sex acts. Upon his arrival to the predetermined location, officers arrested the sex buyer and took him into custody. The man admitted to knowing the female he believed he was meeting for commercial sex and believed that she was likely a victim of sex trafficking. The man’s identity was been released. Later that same month, county law enforcement arrest two more men for child sex trafficking-related charges. According to reports, these two arrests marked the fifth time in a five day period that police in Jefferson County made arrests with charges related to the sex trafficking of minors. The identities, images, ages, and hometowns of arrested sex buyers were included in reports by local media outlets.

State Pennsylvania
Type County
Population 45200
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