Website leads to prostitution arrest in Lafayette

Backpage.com is a website police are using to uncover prostitution and human trafficking (WLFI)
Backpage.com is a website police are using to uncover prostitution and human trafficking (WLFI)

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Police are using a website called Backpage.com to investigate prostitution in Lafayette and as a result, two people were arrested at a South Street hotel on Wednesday.

Shevah Bi Ohara was taken in for prostitution and Eric Nolan was found carrying a gun without a license.

Melissa Shelton thinks she may have been on to something recently when she noticed a man and two women wearing matching jackets acting suspicious at a restaurant on South Street.

“My dad actually said, ‘I wonder why they’re wearing the same,’ and I asked him. I said, ‘I wonder if they’re, you know, prostitutes,'” Shelton said.

After hearing about Wednesday’s prostitution arrest down the street from that restaurant, she wishes she would have called the police.

“Especially, if the girls are in a situation where they want out,” said Shelton.

Detective Dan Long with the Lafayette Police Department said, “If you see someone that doesn’t seem like they fit that location, if they don’t seem free to leave, if they seem scared, we’re a phone call away.”

Long said when they are investigating prostitution or human trafficking they use the human trafficking triangle which has three components: the trafficker, client and victim. You must first target the trafficker and the client before rescuing the victim.

One way to find the trafficker and client is Backpage.com. It’s a website similar to Craigslist that police use to respond to advertisements seeming to solicit sex for money.

The site usually leads police to crimes of all sorts.

“A lot of times they say the drugs go with it and that kind of stuff,” said Shelton when News 18 told her about Backpage.com.

When we told Lafayette resident Scott Crowell about it, he couldn’t help but think of his three kids.

“My daughter is 14 and, obviously, cellphones are a big deal and she wanted Snapchat and we put Snapchat on the phone,” said Crowell. “We recently have taken Snapchat off her phone because of things like this.”

Shelton added, “I have a child, so you always want it to be safe and people to know what’s going on. I guess.”

Shelton said the next time she gets one of those “feelings” she’s calling police.

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