Moon Township, PA
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Moon Township is part of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania metropolitan area and has a population of roughly 28,000 residents. Prostitution has been identified as a substantial problem in the city by residents and police. For example, in 2004, one person in Moon was arrested for prostitution. However, more recently, police have noticed a rise in commercial sex activity and have conducted operations in response. For example, in 2010, 53 individuals were charged with prostitution-related offenses. In 2011, Moon Police arrested 62 people on prostitution-related charges, marking a slight uptick from the previous year, and had steadily increased since the 2008 raids of three township brothels fronting as massage parlors. Sex traffickers/pimps have also been targeted by Moon police due to the township’s proximity to the Pittsburgh International Airport and the more than a dozen hotels in the township. With no downtown or “track,” commercial sex activity occurs primarily indoors, in hotels and residences with advertising and appointments arranged online. Among the problems noted have been cases of child endangerment in which men have brought young children under their care when engaging in commercial sex activity. Sex trafficking has also been documented in the city. or example, in January 2022, a man admitted to having used force or threats of force to compel the woman into prostitution at a hotel, demanding that she earn at least $500 a night toward a goal of collecting $25,000 so they could buy a fast-food franchise. The case began in May 2020, when the FBI and Pittsburgh police conducted an undercover operation after receiving information that the woman was being sex trafficked at the hotel in Moon and her “services” advertised on a website known for commercial sex activity. Additionally, police discovered that one of the woman’s “clients” robbed her at gunpoint in January 2020. The sex trafficker was arrested and faced up to 15 years in federal prison.
In an effort to reduce the demand for prostitution and sex trafficking in the area, police have used tactics targeting the demand for commercial sex that drives all commercial sex activity. Police have conducted reverse stings, such as one in November 2012, at an undisclosed Moon apartment complex that resulted in 10 prostitution arrests. Many of the suspects resided outside of the Pittsburgh region, including one Delaware couple that police said attempted to to solicit sex from an undercover Moon police officer in exchange for money; the couple had brought a 6-year-old child with them to the apartment.
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- http://moon.patch.com/groups/editors-picks/p/prostitution-arrests-on-the-rise-in-moon (2011)
- https://www.wtae.com/article/police-suspects-brought-kid-to-prostitution-sting/ (2011)
- https://patch.com/pennsylvania/moon/moon-police-assist-with-prostitution-sting-at-cranberry-hotel (2011)
Background on Prostitution, Sex Trafficking, Child Endangerment:
- Teen prostitute law needed, city cop says (1978)
- http://cranberry.patch.com/articles/ten-charged-with-prostitution-related-crimes-in-moon-sting- (2011)
- http://moon.patch.com/articles/former-cops-sentenced-in-connection-to-moon-prostitution-sting (2011)
- https://www.wpxi.com/news/2nd-former-officer-charged-in-moon-township-prosti/ (2011)
- https://www.wpxi.com/news/couple-arrested-in-moon-prostitution-sting-deny-ac/ (2011)
- http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2011/11/02/at-least-10-arrested-in-prostitution-sting/ (2011)
- Ten Charged with Prostitution-Related Crimes in Moon Sting (2011)
- Moon Police Arrest Former Pittsburgh Police Officer in Prostitution Sting (2011)
- http://moon.patch.com/articles/three-charged-with-prostitution-in-moon-following-sting (2012)
- http://www.wpxi.com/news/news/local/four-women-behind-bars-after-prostitution-sting-/ (2013)
- http://www.independentmail.com/news/2014/feb/12/human-trafficking-modern-day-slavery/ (2014)
- https://www.post-gazette.com/federal-sex-trafficking-pimp-Moon-hotel (2022)
- https://www.post-gazette.com/sex-trafficking-pimp-15-years-prison-sentence-prostitution-moon-hotel-fbi/ (2022)
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