Wayne County, PA

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Web stings
License suspension

Wayne County, Pennsylvania has a population of about 51,000, and its government seat is the Borough of Honesdale.  Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in 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 child sex trafficking. For example, in May 2016, a woman was arrested for prostituting a 14-year-old girl across county lines.  The woman was charged in Lackawanna County, and the offenses included a felony count of trafficking in minors, statutory sexual assault, promoting prostitution, criminal use of a communication facility, and endangering the welfare of children. The defendant had arranged for a man to purchase sex with the girl at a hotel in Dickson City; the girl later told police the woman forced her to have sex with the man. Investigators were alerted to the crimes after speaking with Wayne County Children and Youth Services.

Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and in September, 2018 local law enforcement agencies conducted a combined sting/reverse sting as a strategy for prevention and response.  To identify and apprehend local sex buyers driving the prostitution and sex trafficking markets, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office collaborated with the Wayne County Drug Task Force to conduct a day-long prostitution sting that the Wayne County district attorney called a first for the county.  Wayne County detectives arrested six men for patronizing alleged prostitutes, as well as four women accused of trading sex for money and one man who set up the transactions. The sting consisted of two separate operations, one targeting customers and another targeting prostitutes (the latter operation also sought to apprehend others involved in setting up or transporting prostituted women to and from appointments).  One pimp was arrested and charged with two counts of promoting prostitution, and found he was carrying a loaded 9 mm pistol, a loaded 12-gauge short barreled shotgun, a loaded semi-automatic rifle, and a bandolier of 12-gauge slugs in his vehicle. Six sex buyers were arrested and  charged with patronizing prostitutes and disorderly conduct, and their identities were included in press releases.

Key Partners

  • Wayne County Sheriff’s Office
  • Wayne County District Attorney’s Office
  • Wayne County Drug Task Force
    • Honesdale Borough Police Department
    • Hawley Borough Police Department
    • Lehigh Township Police Department
    • Wayne County Children and Youth Services
    • Monroe County Detectives Office
    • Pike County Detectives Office
    • FBI Violent Crimes Task Force
    • Truth Home
State Pennsylvania
Type County
Population 51198
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