On Tuesday, October 15, 2019, the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office reported that Joseph Ortiz, 27, of Brooklyn, New York was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor count of patronizing a prostitute. Ortiz will appear for his preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Kristina Anzinion November 18, 2019.
Ortiz’s arrest stemmedfrom an undercover investigation into human trafficking and prostitution in the Poconos region of Pennsylvania. Detective Kim Lippincott posted an advertisement, which Ortiz allegedly answered after running a search for “escorts in the Poconos.” Detective Lippincott used an undercover phone number to text with Ortiz. Ortiz allegedly asked for her availability and received the “rates for an hour service or a 30 minute service.” Ortiz allegedly arranged a rendezvous with Detective Lippincott for a $60 “quickie” at her apartment.
Ortiz allegedly informed Lippincott of his departure time to meet her at the Starbucks Lippincott designated as the meet up point, which detectives had under surveillance. Lippincott asked for the defendant’s physical description, which Ortiz allegedly provided, and directed Ortiz to enter the Starbucks. Ortiz allegedly exited his vehicle, Lippincott called the alleged phone number, Ortiz’s phone began to ring, and authorities positively identified Ortiz.
Ortiz was subsequently arrested, processed, and interviewed at the Monroe County District Attorney’s Criminal Investigations Division. During his interview, Ortiz allegedly confirmed his search for “escorts” and his arrangement to meet Lippincott for the purpose of sexual intercourse. He also consented to a search of his phone and car.
According to the Pocono Record, District Attorney E. David Christine, Jr. of Monroe County has enacted protocols to target human trafficking via the apprehension and prosecution of the men why buy sex and helping the women who are victimsof commercial sexual exploitation. The District Attorney Office’s goal is to find connections to other criminal activitiessuch as human trafficking networks. Detective Lippincott aptly noted prostituted persons “are often forced to act as if they working in the trade” by choice.
The CSE Institute congratulates the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office and the Monroe County Police Department for their investigation and apprehension of this sex buyer. The CSE Institute holds firmly to the stance that sex buyers drive the market for commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. Specifically, prosecuting sex buyers effectively ends human trafficking operations and punishes the most culpable participants. Additionally, the CSE Institute commends the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office and Monroe County Police Department on their view of human trafficking as a criminal enterprisethat forcesvictims to perform sex acts via abuse, drugs, or economic threats. As proponents of the Nordic Model, we are heartened to witness law enforcement and district attorneys investigating, charging, and striving to end the evil of human trafficking.