Quakertown, 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

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.

Key Partners

  • Quakertown police Department
  • Buck’s County Sheriff’s Office
  • FBI
  • Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office

Key Sources

Brothel-Based Reverse Sting, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:

Child Endangerment:

  • “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:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Pennsylvania
Type City
Population 9307
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