Three men were arrested after South Bend Police carried out a prostitution sting this weekend, according to police reports.
An investigation was carried out after the department received tips that the website southbendbackpage.com was being used to solicit prostitutes in the area.
56-year-old David Ford of St. Joseph, 23-year-old Nathan Jenkins of Rochester and 34-year-old Brandon Mafuleka of Mishawaka were all taken into custody for soliciting a prostitute online as well as through text messages and phone calls.
Officers planned the sting by posting on the site and waiting for people to contact them for illegal activity.
“It’s set up like a Craigslist, but in our investigation we saw categories that deal with escorts, massages and prostitution,” said Lt. Dan Skibins, South Bend Police Dept.
Each of the men arrested this weekend used the site and arranged a meeting and a price for sexual acts, but when they walked into the hotel room they were greeted by police officers instead of prostitutes.
Those using any means of solicitation risk being arrested and charged for crimes related to prostitution, said Lt. Daniel Skibins.
South Bend Police Chief Ronald Teachman released a statement on the sting. In it he said, "As the sex for a fee industry moves from the streets to online, we adjust our demand reduction tactics accordingly. I hope this operation and those that will follow send a message to potential customers: The women of South Bend are cherished and they are not for sale."
Police say they hope the sting deters others from using social media to commit these crimes of prostitution.
Newscenter 16 has now learned that Ford was the human resources manager for Child and Family Services of Southwest Michigan. The agency's director declined to comment on situation but did say that Ford is no longer employed there.