Middlesex Township, PA

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Web stings
License suspension

Middlesex Township is a township of approximately 6,000 residents, located in Butler County in western Pennsylvania. Situated along I-81, described as “an artery  for drug and sex trafficking, community residents have reported spikes in prostitution and sex trafficking in and around the area’s 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, Carlisle, Hampden Township, and nearby communities in Cumberland County. The district attorney said all truck stop management in the Middlesex Township area agreed to post “no trespass, no soliciting, no loitering” signs at their businesses to allow authorities to make on the spot arrests of prostitutes. The signs also were posted throughout the area.  Police committed to conducting undercover stings at truck plazas and motels, increase patrols and monitor and record citizen band radio traffic. Anyone arrested for prostitution or solicitation of a prostitute will be detained and photographed. The maximum penalty is up to a year in prison. Law enforcement also would immediately contact the family and employer of any person arrested. The district attorney said illegal sex acts in cars will warrant a detainment and search of the vehicle for trace evidence.

The need for enhanced law enforcement regarding prostitution in Middlesex Township has come about because of recent increased scrutiny area-wide after the body of a 44-year-old woman was spotted by a motorist along the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Plainfield. Investigators throughout the country added the woman’s name to a list of more than 30 women who fell victim 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 truck stop area where she was engaging in prostitution. In February 2004, a 16-year-old girl was found along the Pennsylvania Turnpike near the Middlesex truck stops, near mile marker 232 in Silver Spring Township. The girl acknowledged she was engaged in prostitution and her assailant was a man who she believed would pay for sex acts.

To address these issues, the Middlesex Township Police Department have conducted several street-level reverse stings using undercover female officers as decoys. As men attempt to solicit sex from the women, they are apprehended by police. Once arrested, johns may have their vehicles impounded (if they attempted to buy sex while operating a licensed commercial truck) and/or be subject to jail time. All arrestees must also pay a $100 fine, and, at the discretion of the courts could be held for several nights in jail.  Commercial trucks have been impounded by Middlesex Township police, and officers notify employers that it will cost $400 or more to get their vehicles back.  In a 2006 news report, it was said that about half of the truckers lose their job immediately.  Men’s wives and girlfriends have also been notified of the prostitution arrests.

Key Partners

  •  Middlesex Township Police Department


State Pennsylvania
Type City
Population 5586
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