Local/State

Police bust alleged prostitution operation in Old City

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Philadelphia police busted what they say is a prostitution operation in Philadelphia's Old City section.

Police add it's not the first time they've been there.

Action News was on the scene Wednesday morning when police raided 42 Basement on South 3rd Street in the heart of the city's historic section.

Police had received information from the National Human Trafficking Conference that there was the possibility of prostitution activity going on involving individuals who may have been trafficked.

Among them was an alleged juvenile prostitute who was being physically abused.

"Obviously, when you have the allegation of underage females being trafficked, we put a priority on that," Lt. Charles Green of the Vice Enforcement Unit said.

The establishment had placed ads in area newspapers advertising itself as a massage parlor and offering body shampoos, relaxation and dry sauna.

But police say an undercover officer soon established that there was a lot more going on here at 42 Basement.

Thor Brucher, a resident of Old City, said there were many signs the place was more than a massage parlor.

"The red light underneath, the gate always being open and people coming in and out. Everyone knew," Brucher said.

"Since 1998, we've been to this location a total of seven times and made over 25 arrests," Lt. Green said.

In the end, police found no evidence of the young woman, alleged to be a prostitute, was being physically abused.

But they did arrest three women at 42 Basement and charged them with soliciting prostitution.

(Copyright ©2014 WPVI-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
philadelphia, old city, prostitution, local/state, dann cuellar
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