On April 21, 2022, the Lancaster County Human Trafficking Task Force arrested Louis Fountain after an investigation that began in early March. Fountain is charged with two counts of Trafficking in Individuals under 18 Pa C.S. § 3011. Fountain was also charged with counts of Promoting Prostitution, 18 Pa C.S. § 5902(b), and Living Off Prostitutes, 18 Pa C.S. § 5902(d).
Authorities initiated an investigation into Fountain’s alleged activities after finding an internet ad listing a woman selling sex in Lancaster. After contacting the listed number, an officer purportedly arranged to meet the woman in a hotel room and exchange $260 for specific sex acts. An undercover officer met the woman in the hotel room and gave her the money and discussed the supposed sex acts that would take place. Once confirmed, the arrest team entered the room and arrested the woman.
During a post-arrest interview, the woman told officers that any money she earned had to be given to Fountain. The woman also told officers that she met Fountain when she was eighteen years old. Allegedly, Fountain arranged commercial sex transactions for this woman in Lancaster, Harrisburg, and Delaware. The woman was eventually released and charges against her were dropped.
The trafficking task force seized documents from several hotels, finding that Fountain allegedly spent thousands of dollars on hotel rooms from the end of 2021 to the present. On April 21, 2022, Fountain was arrested when he checked into another hotel in Lancaster. District Attorney Heather Adams thanked the hotels involved in this case for “their vigilance and their full and complete cooperation with law enforcement.”
The CSE Institute commends the newly-formed Lancaster County Human Trafficking Task Force for its dedication to fighting trafficking. We applaud the Lancaster County Human Trafficking Task Force for their commitment to targeting sex buyers, assisting victims, and combating commercial sexual exploitation. However, it is imperative law enforcement understand that those selling sex need not be arrested or charged to successfully arrest and prosecute traffickers. Arresting victims only reinforces traffickers’ messages and increases the distrust between victims and law enforcement. Ensuring victims don’t face prosecution for their victimization is a start, but Lancaster County can do better to protect and serve its most vulnerable citizens.
All views 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.