Police Chief Leo McCarthy said Moon Police arrested 62 people on prostitution-related charges in 2011, marking a slight uptick in sex crime arrests from the previous year.
Arrests for prostitution in Moon have steadily increased since the 2008 raids of three township brothels fronting as massage parlors. McCarthy said 53 were charged with prostitution offenses in 2010. In 2004, just one person in Moon was arrested for the crime.
McCarthy said escorts and prostitutes target Moon for its proximity to the Pittsburgh International Airport and the more than a dozen hotels in the township.
"I'm hoping that this year the number [of prostitution arrests] will be dramatically lower," McCarthy said. "We're sending the message that this activity is not going to be allowed in our community."
McCarthy said sex workers often travel from out-of-state to work in the region surrounding Pittsburgh International.
“It’s not just Moon; it’s the surrounding communities as well,” McCarthy said. "I would say it’s the airport corridor. Other departments are seeing this. Cranberry Police have conducted stings. It’s a growing problem.”
Moon Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2008 raided and closed the Sport Spa and the Pine Tree Spa, two University Boulevard massage parlors functioning as brothels. An unnamed brothel on Carnot Road also was closed in the raids. Click the media in this article for images of the buildings.
McCarthy told Patch last year that the department has stepped up its enforcement of prostitution crimes since those raids.
In 2011, Moon Police charged two former Pittsburgh narcotics detectives with operating a sex-for-money ring with connections to the township.
Ghafoor's girlfriend, Sabina Earlene Sailor, a 44-year-old Florida woman with a lengthy history of prostitution arrests outside of Pennsylvania, was also charged with prostitution last year after police said she agreed to have sex with an undercover Moon detective at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel on Cherrington Parkway.
Sailor is scheduled to appear in March before Common Pleas Judge Joseph K. Williams for a non-jury trial.
McCarthy said prostitution arrests in Moon are conducted in one of three ways: arrests often made after hotel staff report suspicious behavior to police, during undercover stings or after police locate escorts advertising services near the Pittsburgh airport.
"As far as I'm concerned if it says 'airport' or 'University Boulevard' they're talking about Moon," McCarthy said.
An undercover sting in November at an undisclosed Moon apartment complex resulted 10 prostitution arrests, according to police reports. Many of the suspects resided outside of the Pittsburgh region.
One Delaware couple that police said arranged to have sex with an undercover Moon police officer at the sting brought a 6-year-old child with them to the apartment.
McCarthy said efforts to arrest prostitutes in Moon comprise a small portion of what the department does—by comparison of the 475 criminal arrests made in 2011, more than 150 were for drunken driving, he said.
Still, McCarthy hopes the enforcement sends a message to sex workers looking to operate in the Moon area.
“I don’t want Moon Township to be known as the place that has the most prostitution arrests, but if you’re going to be bold enough to advertise in our town, you better know that we’re going to go after you,” McCarthy said.