Mount Pocono is a borough in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, located in the northeastern part of the Poconos Mountains region of the state. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the community, and throughout the county. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking. For example, in February 2018, at least four arrests were made as a result of an investigation into a drug and sex-trafficking ring in Monroe County. The conspirators were accused of distributing crack cocaine, heroin, and other drugs from New York to Stroudsburg PA to Maine, starting in 2010. They were also charged with four counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion between 2011 and 2014, for compelling women by intimidation and drugs to engage in prostitution at hotels and motels in the Monroe County area, and posted ads in the adult entertainment section of a web site to solicit customers for prostitution. The indictment alleges they were part of a street gang called the “Black-P-Stones,” whose members were “beaten-in” or “sexed-in” to the gang.
Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. For example, in January 2019, two men were charged with patronizing prostitution at a Mount Pocono hotel. Police posted ads online, showing pictures of a nude female and phone number used by an officer posing undercover as the female in the pictures. Authorities also set up surveillance at the hotel. The undercover officer began communicating by phone with the men and arranged separate meeting with the female officer at the hotel and pay $75 for a sex. Once in the hotel room, the men engaged in conversation with the officer and then paid her for sexual services. They were then arrested. Their identities were included in news releases.
- Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
- Monroe County District Attorney’s Office
Web-Based Reverse Sting, Shaming:
- “Human Trafficking Arrests in the Poconos,” Poconos News, March 12 2015.
- “Investigators Say Human Trafficking Is a Growing Problem in the Poconos,” NBC/WBRE-TV 11, March 12 2015.
- “Monroe County Hotel Prostitution Stings Lead to 16 Arrests,” Allentown Morning Call, March 12 2015.
- http://www.pahomepage.com/news/big-names-arrested-in-big-prostitution-bust-in-the-poconos (2016)
- https://fox56.com/news/local/police-arrest-11-people-after-prostitution-sting (2017)
- https://cseinstitute.org/Report on Commercial Sexual Exploitation in Pennsylvania (2018)
- https://www.mcall.com/police/mc-pol-three-charged-in-prostitution-sting (2019)
- https://www.poconorecord.com/trio-charged-during-mount-pocono-prostitution-sting (2019)
- https://fox56.com/news/local/three-arrested-in-monroe-co-prostitution-sting (2019)
- http://www.wfmz.com/poconos-coal/two-men-one-woman-arrested-in-prostitution-sting (2019)
- http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-pictures-monroe-county-da-prostitution-sting-photogallery.html (2017)
- http://www.wfmz.com/news/poconos-coal/monroe-county-sets-up-online-prostitution-sting/ (2017)
- http://www.mcall.com/news/police/mc-nws-poconos-live-backpage-prostitution-sting (2017)
- http://www.wfmz.com/news/poconos-coal/monroe-county-sets-up-online-prostitution-sting (2017)
Background on Sex Trafficking in the Area:
- “Two Charged in Stroudsburg Trafficking, Prostitution,” Pocono Record, October 6 2015.
- “Human Trafficking Probe Launched after Chinese Woman Found in Poconos Massage Parlor,” Allentown Morning Call, October 26 2015.
- “Monroe County Man Pleads Guilty to Heroin, Sex Trafficking Charges,” Pocono News, November 25 2015.