Police charge nine women in prostitution sting

The New Haven Police Department arrested and charged nine women in a prostitution sting Friday.

NHPD spokesman Joe Avery said the department organized the sting after receiving complaints from citizens in the area. The stings are a hallmark of NHPD Chief James Lewis’ strategy to target quality-of-life crimes in an effort to reduce more serious criminal activity such as drug trafficking and domestic violence.

This weekend’s sting occurred in the Fair Haven neighborhood, one of the city’s most-targeted areas for prostitution stings. An officer in an unmarked vehicle was approached over the course of a night by nine women who offered sexual favors in exchange for money, Avery said in a statement yesterday. The officer arrested the women, charged them with soliciting prostitution and took them to police headquarters to be processed.

One woman was also charged with failure to keep prescription drugs in their original container, Avery said.

The women range in age from 24 to 49 years old. Seven of the women are New Haven residents, one is from Hamden and one is homeless.

The statement sent out by the city included names, dates of birth, home addresses and mug shots of each of the women arrested. When the raids began in August 2008, City Hall spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga said the city chose to proactively disseminate the women’s names and likenesses in order to deter continued prostitution.

NHPD began regularly conducting prostitution stings two months after Lewis assumed his duty as chief. This sting was conducted by NHPD’s Tactical Narcotics Unit, relaunched in February nearly two years after a corruption scandal caused it to be disbanded. Before the unit was relaunched, the gun and firearms unit oversaw all prostitution stings.

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