On March 22nd, Thomas John Drevenak was charged with one count of promoting prostitution and one misdemeanor count each of marijuana and make repairs/sell/etc. an offensive weapon. Police allege Drevenak forced his fiancée to engage in prostitution in a parking lot located in Loyalsock Township. Drevenak allegedly arranged for his fiancée to perform sex acts at the Econo Lodge parking lot around 5:30pm on March 22nd, 2021.
Police had discovered multiple text messages between Drevenak and the victim indicating Drevenak not only knew of the arrangements set up for the victim but that Drevenak was also placing requirements on the transactions. According to NorthcentralPA.com, Drevenak was admitted to the Lycoming County Prison on March 22nd. Magisterial District Judge set Drevenak’s monetary bail to $35,000, which Drevenak was unable to make.
Unfortunately, it is a prevalent pattern for victims to be forced or coerced into the sex trade by someone they know and trust, like a romantic partner. Further, we know sex traffickers and sex buyers take advantage of victims’ vulnerabilities, such as financial insecurity, lack of food or shelter and drug addiction, to perpetuate a cycle of abuse that is difficult to escape. Whether it be landlords using their tenant’s financial struggles as a way to coerce them and force them into performing sexual favors or romantic partners, as seen here, the vulnerable are taken advantage of and face the brunt of harm.
Based on the allegations against Drevenak, the CSE Institute encourages the Lycoming District Attorney’s Office to charge Drevenak with trafficking in individuals. Pennsylvania’s Anti-Trafficking Statute defines trafficking in individuals as any person who recruits, entices, solicits, advertises, harbors, transports, provides, obtains or maintains an individual if the person knows or recklessly disregards that the individual will be subject to sexual servitude or of the first degree if the person knowingly benefits financially or receives anything of value from any act that facilitates any such activity. To convict someone for trafficking in individuals under Pennsylvania law, the prosecuting authority must show that the perpetrator committed at least one of the acts under Section 3011 by and through the means of one of the factors listed in Section 3012(b) for the purpose of involuntary servitude. According to prosecutors, Drevenak not only arranged for his fiancée to sell sex but also “placed requirements” on the transactions between his fiancée and sex buyers. Based on the facts alleged, charging Drevenak with trafficking in individuals would be appropriate.
It is imperative for law enforcement to target those who drive the demand for commercial sex, including those who promote prostitution, to effectively eliminate commercial sexual exploitation and ensure necessary resources are available to victims. This method of targeting traffickers and sex buyers is the main component of the Equality Model. The Equality Model aims to ensure that victims of sex trafficking who are coerced or forced to sell sex are not criminalized for these acts.
The CSE Institute commends the state police at Montoursville for investigating and charging Drevenak for allegedly soliciting his fiancée for prostitution. The CSE Institute will provide updates to this case once they become available.