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Quakertown is a borough in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and has a population of about 9,000. The community is about 15 miles south of Allentown and Bethlehem and 50 miles north of Philadelphia. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in the borough and surrounding communities, and other areas of Bucks County, frequently concentrated in and around hotels and motels along the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Local law enforcement agencies have reported cases of sex trafficking of minors, and media outlets have also noted the discovery of small children during local prostitution stings. At least one individual has been convicted of torturing and murdering a woman involved in prostitution (brought from nearby Philadelphia‘s Kensington Avenue) and an exotic dancer in nearby Bensalem. In October 2010, ten women working at massage parlors throughout Bucks County were arrested on prostitution-related charges; they had been operating out of eight massage parlors or spas in several communities, including Quakertown and Springfield, Nockamixon, and Doylestown townships. The Bucks County District Attorney said the women were indentured servants, working as sex slaves to pay for their passage to the United States. Of the women arrested, five served as the madams of the establishments while the other five were exploited in prostitution, and the owners of the storefronts were generally based in New York City and sometimes monitored activities using streaming video over the internet.
Consumer-level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies in their strategy for prevention and response. To combat the array of problems stemming from prostitution, local law enforcement agencies have conducted periodic operations hat have included apprehending local sex buyers. For example, in March 2005, Quakertown police investigated a Spa on South 11th Street that advertised massage services, and found a steady stream of male customers, some bearing $10 “grand opening” discount coupons clipped from a magazine. An undercover investigation revealed massages cost $60 and sex acts ranged from $20 to $60. Surveillance identified dozens of men driving vehicles with Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware plates, and police had the names of about 25 of the drivers and planned to investigate their actions further. When customers entered the spa, at the intersection of Route 309, they were greeted by women wearing revealing lingerie. Quakertown police raided the massage parlor and charged two women with prostitution, and a third with promoting prostitution. After police raided the spa, a female state trooper from the Dublin barracks posed as the madam for the next several hours. She would greet customers and take them into a room and ask what they were there for, and those describing the sex acts they wanted to buy were arrested. Three men were arrested and charged, and arraigned and released on their own recognizance. Their identities were included in news releases. This case is an example of a brothel-based reverse sting, during which an actual illicit brothel is “flipped” and staffed by undercover police who conduct a sting operation.
- Quakertown police Department
- Buck’s County Sheriff’s Office
- Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office
Brothel-Based Reverse Sting, Identity Disclosure:
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- “Haverford Man Busted on Hooker Rap,” Philadelphia Daily News, August 9 1997.
- “Man, 64, Nabbed in Sex Sting,” Delaware County Daily Times, August 12 1997.
- https://www.mcall.com/news/mc-xpm-mc-massage-parlors-quakertown-bucks (2010)
- https://www.wfmz.com/news/16-arrested-in-prostitution-bust (2010)
- “Philly Cop Facing Sex Rap with Girl, 14,” Philadelphia Daily News, May 3 2012.
- “Phila. Cop Accused of Sex with Teen,” Doylestown Intelligencer, May 4 2012.
- “Alleged Pimp to Stand Trial,” Bucks County Courier Times, June 28 2012.
- “Alleged Philadelphia Pimp Facing Rape Charges,” Bucks County Courier Times, October 3 2012.
- “Woman Says Pimp Sexually Assaulted Her,” Doylestown Intelligencer, November 16 2012.
- “Philadelphia Cop Headed to Trial in Sexual Assault of Teen in a Bensalem Motel,” Bucks County Courier Times, December 13 2012.
- “At Pimp’s Sentencing, Judge Urges More Awareness of Prostitution,” Bucks County Courier Times, June 12 2013.
- https://www.theintell.com/article (2013)
- “Pimp Gets 16 to 40 Years in State Prison,” Doylestown Intelligencer, June 12 2013.
- “Former Phila. Police Officer Guilty of Sexual Assault,” Philadelphia Inquirer, June 19 2013.
- “Alleged Pimp Arrested at Bensalem Police Station,” Bucks County Courier Times, September 13 2013.
- “Bucks County Convicts Enoch Smith of Rape, Promoting Prostitution,” Bucks County Courier Times, October 28 2013.
- “Man Pleads Guilty to Pimping 16-Year-Old at Bensalem Motel,” Doylestown Intelligencer, March 2 2014.
- “Police Say Man Prostituted Teens,” Bucks County Courier Times, April 10 2014.
- “Bucks Police: Pimp Charged with Human-Trafficking,” Philadelphia Inquirer, April 11 2014.
- “Man Faces Trial for Allegedly Prostituting Teens,” Bucks County Courier Times, September 4 2014.
- “A Look at Recent Sex-Trafficking Cases in Bucks County,” Bucks County Courier Times, September 28 2014.
- “Sex Traffickers Often Target Troubled Local Teens,” Bucks County Courier Times, September 28 2014.
- “Woman Charged with Endangering Son,” Bucks County Courier Times, April 21 2009.
- “No Jail Time for Prostitute Mom,” Doylestown Intelligencer, August 4 2009.
Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “Strip Club Regular Charged in Killings; Dancer Is One of Two Slain,” Ocala Star-Banner, June 25 1994.
- “Suspect in Murder of Exotic Dancer, Prostitute Was Obsessed, Police Say,” Beaver County Times, July 28 1994.
- “Man Admits to Killing Dancer, Prostitute,” Washington Observer-Reporter, November 11 1994.
- “Man Jailed on Promoting Prostitution, Assault Charges,” Doylestown Intelligencer, September 27 2015.
- “Prostitution Investigation Leads to Police Pursuit in Bensalem,” CBS/KYW-TV 3, January 29 2016.
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Two Women Face Prostitution Charges,” Bucks County Courier Times, November 21 2002.
- https://www.mcall.com/news/mc-xpm (2005)
- “Police Call on Motel Owners in Crime Fight; Drug Trafficking, Prostitution and Car Theft Were Cited. The Numbers of Hotels Is Growing,” Philadelphia Inquirer, February 10 2005.
- “BENSALEM; Five Arrested in Prostitution Sting,” Bucks County Courier Times, June 15 2006.
- “BENSALEM; Cops: Sex for Sale on Craigslist,” Bucks County Courier Times, September 7 2006.
- “BENSALEM; Police Arrest 6 in Internet Sting,” Bucks County Courier Times, November 1 2007.
- “Police Arrest Six Women,” Bucks County Courier Times, November 2 2007.
- “Woman Charged with Prostitution,” Bucks County Courier Times, March 26 2009.
- “Sex for Phillies World Tickets Trial to Begin,” Bucks County Courier Times, March 24 2010.
- “Police Lead off in Sex-for-Tickets Case, Prosecution Goes to Bat,” Bucks County Courier Times, March 25 2010.
- “Police Bust Drug, Prostitution Enterprise,” Bucks County Courier Times, August 19 2010.
- “Women Charged with Prostitution,” Bucks County Courier Times, December 3 2010.
- “Woman Cleared of Prostitution Charge for Trying to Get Phillies Tickets,” Philadelphia Inquirer, December 21 2011.
- “Man Charged with Running Prostitution Ring at Hotel,” Bucks County Courier Times, July 2 2014.
- https://cseinstitute.org/bucks-county-strip-club-shut-down-following-prostitution-allegations (2019)