King of Prussia, 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

King of Prussia is census-designated place of approximately 22,000 residents, located within Upper Merion Township in the northwest suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been identified by residents and law enforcement as substantial problems in King of Prussia and throughout the county, including nearby communities such as Norristown, Montgomery Township, and Pottstown. The city appears to be a staging area for prostitution activity in the greater metro Philadelphia area, and police report that they often see well over 100 online ads for sex in King of Prussia and nearby towns, such as Upper Merion, Wilmington, Princeton, and Atlantic City.

In February 2014, law enforcement officials announced a plan to combat prostitution and sex trafficking in Montgomery County, featuring more aggressive enforcement (i.e., reverse stings) and more severe penalties (including increased fines and identity disclosure) for sex buyers. Explaining the reasons for this focus, District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferma said:

“We’re going to start aggressively going after those customers of this criminal activity in an effort to deter them from coming into our community and engaging in these acts. We’re letting people know that, whereas in the past they might have simply gotten a citation, we’re going to be making arrests and those arrests will be public and people will be charged criminally and there will be consequences for their actions if they engage in this activity…  There are a number of different problems that we’ve identified, and law enforcement professionals who have come together to work on this have concluded that the best way, right now, for us to try to tackle it would be to go after the customers.  I think if people know that there is a possibility that they will get more than a summary citation, that they will be arrested and it will be a public arrest… that may discourage them from coming in to the community in the first place.”

The plan included publicly disclosing the identities of arrested sex buyers: Arrest information, including photographs of offenders, will be released to the public. Prostitution and ‘patronizing prostitutes’ are third-degree misdemeanors for first-time offenders and the maximum penalty upon conviction is up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Penalties increase for repeat offenders.

In late February 2014, six men were arrested following a prostitution sting in King of Prussia. The operation targeted crimes relating to human trafficking and commercial sex in the county.  The reverse sting happened on February 28th, after police posted an online ad offering prostitution services. Officials said that over 300 text messages and phone calls were received by police in response to just one online ad. In June 2014, the Upper Merion Police Department and the Montgomery County Detective Bureau conducted a second web-based reverse sting in King of Prussia, resulting in the arrest of five male sex buyers. During the operation, two men allegedly attempted to rob the undercover female officer posing as a prostituted woman, officials said. The two men were charged with robbery and “other related offenses.”

In late June 2015, another joint web-based reversal led by UMPD officers and the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office netted five male sex buyers in Kind of Prussia. Each of the men was arrested after responding to a decoy online advertisement and allegedly offering money in exchange for sexual acts. All of the offenders’ identities were again publicized in press.

In 2016, a we-based prostitution sting in King of Prussia resulted in the arrest of six male sex buyers who had contacted and arranged to meet undercover officers for commercial sex at a local hotel. According to reports, the sting operation was part of a joint law enforcement initiative by the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office and Upper Merion Township Police Department aimed at investigating and prosecuting individuals committing crimes related to human trafficking and the commercial sex trade in Montgomery County, specifically in local hotels. The identities and images of arrested sex buyers were included in reports by local media outlets.

Key Partners

  • King of Prussia Police Department
  • Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office
  • Upper Merion Township Police Department

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Sex Trafficking in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State Pennsylvania
Type City
Population 22028
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