Westmoreland County, PA

Tactics Used

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

Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, is situated along the Allegheny River about 20 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. The county’s population is roughly 350,000, and the government seat is the city of Greensburg. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in communities and unincorporated areas of the county.  This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. For example, in 2017 a Jeannette woman was arrested during a sting operation by the Greensburg Police Department, and was charged with child endangerment and prostitution.  The woman said her 1-year-old daughter sometimes was present in the home during her commercial sex encounters.  Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is human trafficking, posing enough of a problem that resources have been invested in establishing the Westmoreland County Task Force on Human Trafficking, and centers that provide services for human trafficking victims. 

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.  To identify and apprehend local sex buyers driving the prostitution and sex trafficking markets, the Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Office has conducted investigations and arrests of sex buyers.  For example, in July 2017 police arrested a woman for prostitution, and also for accepting money from men in exchange for allowing them to inappropriately touch a 7-year-old girl, and she was charged with trafficking of minors, aggravated indecent assault of a child, sexual exploitation of children, corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of children. The suspect admitted to investigators that she had sex with men in her apartment in exchange for cash, and police found messages on her phone indicating prostitution activity. During a police interview she told investigators she watched two men kiss and touch the girl, and police investigated whether a 3-year-old girl who also was in her care was molested. After additional investigation, two more men were charged with alleged involvement in illicit sexual conduct, indecent assault of a child under age 13, corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of children. The identities of the men were included in press releases.

 

Key Partners

  • Greensburg Police Department
  • Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Office

 

 

Key Sources

Reverse Sting, Shaming:

Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:

State Pennsylvania
Type County
Population 352627
Location
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