On February 1, 2019, Anthony J. Grajales, a 23-year-old man from Fountain Hill, Pennsylvania, was arrested and charged with two counts of promoting prostitution. According to media reports, the arrest occurred after an undercover officer with the Bethlehem Township Police Department posed as a sex buyer on a prostitution website. This officer set up a location to meet a “scantily clad” woman featured in an online advertisement.
When the woman and Grajales arrived, she allegedly agreed to sell sex to the undercover officer. At this point, the undercover officer arrested Grajales, who admitted he took the pictures of the woman, posted the advertisement online, set up the meeting, and drove the woman to the location. Grajales also admitted that he customarily took forty percent of any profits this woman made. The officer then verified that Grajales’ phone number was the number allegedly used to contact him to set up the location to meet.
After his arrest and while handcuffed, Grajales surprisingly attempted to escape police custody at the scene. Despite his ability to run a few hundred yards, officers eventually caught and detained Grajales.
Grajales was charged with two counts of promoting prostitution, which is a third degree felony, and one count of escape. District Judge Nancy Matos Gonzalez set Grajales’ bail at$75,000, which Grajales failed to post. Grajales will await his preliminary hearing in jail, which is currently scheduled for February 15, 2019.
The CSE Institute applauds Bethlehem Township Police Department’s efforts in securing Grajales’ arrest. The undercover operation and arrest appear to have centered on Grajales, the man promoting prostitution, as opposed to the woman being prostituted. The CSE Institute encourages this approach and continues to advocate for the Nordic Model, which penalizes those who buy and sell persons for sex instead of punishing exploited women. The CSE Institute additionally urges law enforcement to utilize Pennsylvania’s human trafficking statute when appropriate.
All views expressed herein are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law or Villanova University.