Last week, The Forecaster featured the article “Prostitution rise puzzles police, Parkside residents.” Two days later, The New York Times featured the article “Heroin in New England, More Abundant and Deadly,” in its National News section. The half-page article focused on Portland, and indicated not only heroin’s alarming comeback, but also a direct link to prostitution. One woman who was interviewed lives on the streets of Portland and stated she works as a prostitute, selling her body three times a day to support her heroin habit. Granted, she may not live in the Parkside neighborhood, but is there really so much differential space in our small city?
These are complex, interrelated and growing problems in Portland. I was disheartened to read about the level of action being taken, and the same trivializing jargon used about prostitution – world’s oldest profession, victimless crime, etc. – that I have read for decades. It is a serious issue, for many reasons, and needs to be looked at in relation to other problems (i.e., substance abuse) facing our city right now. It seems to demand more comprehensive solutions than policing at this point.