By John Klar
Ten Vermont legislators have sponsored a bill (H.268) to create a “Sex Work Study Committee” concerning the legalization of prostitution in Vermont. This bill strives to rewrite Vermont history via an absurdly vacuous lie that Vermont prohibited prostitution because of “white supremacist” motives. In fact, the impetus for banning prostitution in Vermont and elsewhere was from feminists and suffragettes. How then could ten elected Vermont representatives draft — and seek to establish as law — something so patently false?
House Bill 268, referred to the Judiciary Committee on February 17, states:
Sec. 1. FINDINGS AND INTENT 19 (a) The majority of Vermont’s laws on prostitution were adopted more than 100 years ago and have remained largely unchanged since that time. … Historically, these types of laws were used to prosecute men of color for having relationships with white women.
It’s bad enough the world must contend with actual racism without these partisan legislators fabricating nonexistent racist history to justify “developing a modern approach to State involvement in sexual activity for hire by consenting adults.” Perhaps legalizing prostitution makes sense — but how can the subject be legitimately addressed now that it has been tarnished with such a bald-faced lie as justification? Since this assertion or “finding” is the foundation of this bill, and since it is demonstrably false, why continue with the next section? This farce has no legitimacy — it is a prostitution of legislative process.
These legislators cannot point to a single case of such a thing ever happening in Vermont, the most BIPOC-friendly state of all America since its founding. If they could prove a single incident, would they impute a racist motive to Vermont’s entire 1915 Legislature? If elected officials slander their own people, surely they must possess and procure evidence other than an unsubstantiated “historically, these types of laws were used…” After all, they have now made it an issue in a prostitution bill.
The truth about anti-prostitution laws, according to Encyclopedia Brittanica, is different:
In the late 19th century … [w]ith the rise of feminism, many came to regard male libertinism as a threat to women’s status and physical health[.] … Antiprostitution campaigns flourished from the 1860s, often in association with temperance and women’s suffrage movements. International cooperation to end the traffic in women for the purpose of prostitution began in 1899. In 1921 the League of Nations established the Committee on the Traffic in Women and Children, and in 1949 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a convention for the suppression of prostitution[.] … By 1915 nearly all states had passed laws that banned brothels or regulated the profits of prostitution[.] … Authorities also intervened to prevent girls from being coerced into prostitution (“white slavery”).
Women initiated the prohibition of prostitution to prevent white slavery, and now a deluded clan of Progressive white Vermont legislators have introduced a law that claims that these old laws were passed not to protect white female victims, but to oppress black male ones.
Perhaps the adroit Vermont media will inquire of these legislators for an example or two of Vermonters’ forebears halting black men at the borders to Canada and Massachusetts from leaving the state with white Vermont gals in tow (in between smuggling slaves to Vermont via the Underground Railroad). Or perhaps, after electing the first BIPOC man to a state Legislature (in 1836!), Vermont decided by 1915 to reverse course and (silently, perhaps subconsciously) abandon its well established record of welcoming tolerance to persecute the 1,173 black men who lived here (per U.S. 1910 census, Table 2).
Race activists assert (in the area of racial disparities in the criminal justice system) that “the matter of reducing racial disparities must not — under any circumstances — be seen as a partisan issue.” How could anything be more obviously partisan than fabricating race-baiting lies to “liberate” Vermont from the criminalization of sex for hire? Vermont’s factually deficient crew of virtue-signaling H.268 sponsors have pushed racist shaming to new pinnacles of Pinocchian proboscises and partisan ptooey.
Is passing lies as laws, the new social justice pattern for America or just Vermont? Accountability is past due. Will Vermont’s Progressive supermajority Legislature, bent on using any Alinskian means available, actually pass legislation this false in order to allow young women (of any color) to sell their bodies freely?
Vermont will see, soon enough.
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