I commend the News for its in-depth investigation of the 2007 immigration raids in Fair Haven (“A safe haven, raided,” Sept. 28, and “The unmaking of a haven,” Sept. 29). The pieces offered a thorough description of the event, including police records and interviews with “more than 50 people,” including folks who were arrested.
I am deeply disappointed, however, that the same critical analysis was not provided for the New Haven Police Department’s “story” on a Fair Haven prostitution sting (“Police charge nine women in prostitution sting,” Sept. 29). The piece reads like a NHPD press release; where is the News’ reporting?
As a resident of Fair Haven, I can think of many interventions that the city could provide for our community that would be more useful than entrapping nine low-income women on prostitution charges. For example, comprehensive harm-reduction services that engage drug users in systems of care by providing safe housing and access to treatment for mental health and addiction problems would be a better response to “complaints from citizens in the area” than incarcerating these women for a few months before releasing them back into the same community circumstances that led to their arrests.
This kind of social propaganda that places the responsibility community problems on the poor, without any discussion of the larger socioeconomic forces that create poverty and crime, and which perpetuates the stereotype that all low-income women are, first and foremost, sex workers, is shallow, short-sighted and inconsistent with the News’ general practice of providing well-balanced journalism. These stings should be examined with the same critical eye as the immigration raids.
The writer is a research associate at the Yale Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS.