The Pennsylvania Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement and other governing authorities recently announced that Bristol Township Strip Club, Ballpark Tavern, has been declared a public nuisance by a judge and shut down until further notice. According to the Patch, the strip club will remain closed until a full court hearing can be held. State officials cited instances of prostitution, drug overdose, and public drunkenness as reasons to suspend the Ballpark Tavern from doing business.
The decision to close the controversial establishment came after discussions between the Bureau, Pennsylvania State Police, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bristol Township Police, and the Bucks County District Attorney’s office. Major Scott T. Miller, director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, stated that members of law enforcement had documented a pattern of illegal and irresponsible behavior from the business’s operators, employees, and patrons since 2017. He further added that the Ballpark Tavern was negatively affecting local residents and businesses. Officials also reported that the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources frequently investigated complaints of Ballpark Tavern patrons polluting the nearby Delaware Canal Towpath.
A quick google search of the Ballpark Tavern reveals that commercial sex was likely a common occurrence at the business. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, victims of sex trafficking are commonly recruited to work in strip clubs. These businesses are designed to provide an environment where patrons may purchase commercial sex, making them fertile ground for trafficking. With this in mind, organizations focused on anti-trafficking have begun to incorporate strip-club outreach into their efforts to better identify victims and help persons transition out of the commercial sex industry.
The CSE Institute is glad to see authorities throughout the Commonwealth work together to stymy a business allegedly complicit in facilitating commercial sexual exploitation. It takes stakeholders from across the board to enact the incremental changes necessary to eradicate trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation from Pennsylvania.
All viewed expressed herein are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law or of Villanova University.