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Vermont Legislators Propose Decriminalizing Prostitution

January 6, 2020

A group of left-wing Vermont lawmakers want to decriminalize prostitution in the state, according to a new bill proposed in the state’s House of Representatives.

The recently proposed Vermont House Bill 0569 is four pages long and, according to VT Digger, it would, “decriminalize the sale of sex between two consenting adults.” Under the bill, prostitution sold through human trafficking or coercion would still be illegal.

Vermont state Representative Selene Colburn of Burlington, a member of the Vermont Progressive Party (which is further left than the Democrats) is the primary sponsor for this legislation. Co-sponsors of this legislation include state representatives Diana Gonzalez (P-Winooski), Maxine Grad (D-Moretown), and Emilie Kornheiser (D-Brattleboro).

Under the bill, so-called sex work would not be legal in the state. However, those found guilty of soliciting sex or accepting money for it would not be criminally charged.

“By driving sex work underground, we’re creating much more dangerous conditions for sex workers,” Colburn told VT Digger. “They should feel like they have the protection of police if they need it.”

The Vermont House’s Judiciary Committee plans to review the bill.

If passed, it would make Vermont the first state to decriminalize prostitution statewide. Prostitution is legal in certain counties in Nevada, but not in the whole state.

Colburn admits she is unsure how her colleagues will react to the legislation, since there is no precedent for what she is proposing in the United States.

“There is a lot of good research and compelling advocates on this issue,” she told VT Digger, “And hopefully my colleagues will hear them and take it seriously.”

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