Niles, MI

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Niles is a city in Berrien and Cass counties in southern Michigan, near South Bend, Indiana. Its population is approximately 12,000. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been well-documented in the county, resulting in complaints to law enforcement. Drugs have been connected to the local commercial sex mark, and there have been cases of child sex trafficking, and the related production of child sexual abuse materials.

Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. Demand reduction tactics used in the city include the disclosure of sex buyer identities and employment loss. For example, in August, 2020, a Niles man charged with sexually abusing a minor and solicitation of prostitution resigned as a partner of a medical marijuana company that was building a grow facility in the city. The man resigned as a partner in HDS Investments, and was originally going to be the company’s grower, but the pending felony charges of soliciting prostitution from a minor, delivery of narcotics to a minor, and child sexual abusive activity against the man made it unlikely the company would receive approval for a state license. A Berrien County judge had ruled that prosecutors presented sufficient evidence against him to send the case to the county’s circuit court for a trial in February, 2021. The defendant had been arrested in April and charged with delivery of narcotics to a minor and aggravated child sexually abusive activity. Prosecutors allege the man gave a 16-year-old girl crack cocaine and marijuana on numerous occasions and that sexually explicit pictures of the girl taken at the suspect’s house were found on her phone. During a preliminary exam of charges, a third charge of soliciting prostitution from a minor was added against the man after testimony from the accuser indicated she performed sex acts in exchange for cocaine.  The man was one of three partners in an investment company that bought a vacant lot at 13th and Lake Streets in Niles, and was constructing a marijuana grow facility there. He was arraigned on the original two charges in April and was free on bond. He was initially charged with delivery of a controlled substance to a minor — a 40-year felony — and aggravated child sexual abusive activity — a 25-year felony. The charge added later was prostitution/engaging the services of a minor — a five-year felony. The man pleaded not guilty to all three counts.

Key Partners

  • HDS Investments
  • Berrien County Sheriff’s Department
  • Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office
State Michigan
Type City
Population 11876
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