Washington County, 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

Washington County, Pennsylvania has a population of roughly 201,000 and is located in the western part of the state, within the Pittsburgh, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its county is the city of Washington, and other noteworthy cities include Charleroi, Monongahela, and North Strabane. Prostitution activity has been well-documented within the county, and 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.

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, Washington police conducted at least two reverse sting operations between 2010 and 2012.  The identities of the arrestees, along with their ages and addresses, were released by police and published in news accounts.  News archives indicate that the first reverse sting in the city occurred in 1976. In April 2014, a 15-year-old girl called Charleroi Regional Police to report that a man she had been communicating with through Facebook offered her $500 for sex. The girl showed police numerous texts and Facebook messages allegedly sent to her by the man who stated “he wanted to have sex with the girl in exchange for money.” In response to her report, police conducted a web-based reverse sting, communicating with the sex buyer online and arranging a time to meet at a predetermined location where surveillance would be set up to document the arrest. The sex buyer was arrested by police while he was on his way to sexually exploit what he believed was the teenage girl. The man was arraigned in District Court on felony charges of promoting/encouraging prostitution, criminal use of a communication facility, unlawful contact with a minor-prostitution and corruption of minors. The man’s identity was provided to the media in press releases and subsequent news reports.

Key Partners

State Pennsylvania
Type County
Population 209470
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