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Sewickley is a borough of roughly 4,000 residents in western Pennsylvania located in Allegheny County, PA, just 12 miles northwest of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. The city and its surrounding communities have experienced a wide array of problems associated with commercial sex, including the homicides of prostituted persons and sex trafficking victims (including 12 of which may have been serial homicides in the 1980s), child sex trafficking, child endangerment, and sex trafficking-related production of child sexual abuse materials (CSAM, often referred to in legal codes as “child pornography”). For example, In December 2013, a federal grand jury indicted a man who allegedly had been sex trafficking a 14-year-old runaway girl. The man recruited a minor girl to engage in a commercial sex act and also used a minor girl to produce “child pornography” prosecutors said.
In effort to combat the local commercial sex market, police have been known to apprehend sex buyers in the area. For example, in August 2022, a Sewickley piercing shop owner was arrested and faced charges related to prostitution, terroristic threats, and the corruption of minors. The owner of a “body art” business offered a job to a 17-year-old girl after she got a piercing at his shop. According to court documents, the teenage girls says the man would constantly make comments about his customers’ physical appearances after they left the shop and would make inappropriate comments. While she was working, the store owner brought the victim to the back of the shop and told her that he and his wife would be opening a bra store, and asked the the victim about her bra size and asked to see a picture of her in a bikini. According to reports, the man “asked the 17-year-old girl to show her breasts several times, on multiple days, and asked her to have sex with him while offering to give her $100 each time — but she declined.” Police said that while the victim was getting a piercing done by the owner, the man went under her shirt, rubbed her back, and tried to pull down her collar. Additionally, the man made the teen sign a non-disclosure agreement to try and keep her from saying anything and even gestured at a gun he had in the shop if she were to tell anyone about what happened. The man’s identity was included in news reports.
Sex Buyer Arrests, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.cbsnews.com/sewickley-shop-owner-numerous-charges-prostitution/ (2022)
- https://www.wpxi.com/owner-piercing-shop-sewickley-facing-several-charges-prostitution (2022)
Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- 2 guilty in apartment prostitution raid (1969)
- Teen prostitute law needed, city cop says (1978)
- 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)
Prostitution Related Child Endangerment, CSAM:
- “Police Raid Suspected Brothel, Drug Lab; Eight Arrested on Mount Washington”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 17 2002.
- 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://archive.triblive.com/news/hill-district-man-faces-child-sex-trafficking-charge/ (2012)
- “Police: Man with Child, Drugs in Car Tried to Pick up Prostitute in Knoxville,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 9 2015.
- “Pittsburgh Police Target Sex Trade; Dozens Arrested in Crackdown,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 3 2015.
- https://www.wpxi.com/news/top-stories/parents-charged-with-running-brothel-out-of-home-with-3-kids-inside (2018)
- https://archive.triblive.com/ingram-couple-accused-of-running-brothel-in-home-endangering-children/ (2018)
Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “Slay Suspect Held in 2nd City Attack,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 31 1984.
- “2 Deaths Scare Pittsburgh Prostitutes”, Washington Observer-Reporter, February 27 1987.
- “Two Men Arrested in Death of Prostitute”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 28 1987.
- “Looking for Links in a Dozen Deaths”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 24 1999.
- Newton, M. (2006). Encyclopedia of Serial Killers, 2nd Edition.