Legislation

Burlington prostitution ordinance language offensive, subcommittee says

By Flora Scott

The Burlington City Council Charter Change Committee has recommended changing allegedly offensive language in the city’s existing anti-prostitution ordinances. The recommendation will be considered by the full City Council Monday, Dec. 13.

The three city councilors that comprise the committee considered proposals last Monday to change existing language in ordinances, in addition to adding language to protect sex workers that will now be heard before the full City Council. If approved by the Council, the proposed charter change will go to a  public vote. All municipal charter changes require approval of the Vermont Legislature. 

First introduced by Councilor Perri Freeman, a Progressive member of that nights panel, the resolution asks the Committee to reconsider the current language, “to restrain and suppress houses of ill fame and disorderly houses, and to punish common prostitutes and persons consorting therewith.” The term “sex work” has been seen rapidly replacing ” prostitution ” as the go-to terminology in the 21st-century vernacular by those pushing to decriminalize it and who are promoting it as a legitimate profession.

Rep. Selene Colburn, a Progressive, strongly encouraged repeal of what she considers offensive language in the Charter. She said it conflicts with creating a legal landscape for sex workers. She affirmed the Legislature is not working on this issue actively but that legislation has been reintroduced. 

Among the Representatives, looking at the language has been contentious, Colburn said. She explained that in the Legislature, more time is available to review and resolve issues, as opposed to the short Charter Change information sessions.

Councilor Mark Barlow, an Independent, stated he is not recommending any specific changes but is supportive of striking the existing language. After hearing a desire from the floor to add language to protect sex workers, he questions what additional language to use. He’s concerned that making such changes at a local level will conflict with or seem to override state laws.

City Attorney Dan Richardson clarified that it would simply come down to specific language. 

Councilor Barlow asserted that the issue belongs at the state level because the same language and intent is at the state level as is the local. He stated the state statute is clear: Refer additional language provisions to full Council.  

31 replies »

  1. Yeah, this is being done to “protect sex workers”……sure it is. Sex “work” is in itself an abomination. This re-wording is being done to eventually restore legalized prostitution to the States with VT in the forefront of this “noble” goal which will usher in MORE sex workers, enable more sex traffickers, will cause more harm, exploitation, and objectification of women (primarily), and will diminish many of the advances the women’s rights movement made decades ago.

    That’s the “progressive” way! Better known as “regressive” in normal circles.

    • I thought we were all about promoting individual liberty on this site? Sure seems like you want to control and criminalize what others do with their personal bodies instead of just ignoring/not participating in the activity that offends you so much you call it an abomination.

      • Prostitution and Human Trafficking go hand and hand together, making your argument indefensible. This article describes an attempt to legitimatize prostitution and the resulting human trafficking.

      • Frank,

        So is your logic because “X action” leads to a negative “Y action” that we should therefore criminalize “X action”? Or do you only want to criminalize “X action” in certain instances that you are okay with but not all cases?

      • Again, your argument is indefensible. Both X action- currently called prostitution and Y action, currently called human trafficking are illegal. There is a reason, proven out in history as to why these are Illegal acts. Are you supportive of prostitution and human trafficking? Or just happy to be an internet troll?

      • Frank,

        Throughout history things have been illegal that today we don’t bat an eye at, to name a few: interracial marriage, the purchase of alcohol, and women serving on juries. I don’t find an action being currently illegal as reason to continue it being illegal on that basis alone.

        I do support the decriminalization of prostitution and for consenting adults to engage in private business. Human trafficking does not involve consenting adults and obviously should be kept criminalized.

        I don’t understand why you call me a troll for trying to have a conversation with you to understand where you are coming from. I am genuinely interested in what people on this website think and why they think what they do.

      • Are you a dude, Christian? Or maybe you haven’t “decided” yet….lol! I’m a woman & can tell you that according to DOJ stats & FBI data & published research from within the USA and foreign governments: Prostitution of ANY type breeds trafficking, drugs, and diminishes WOMEN, and abuses women, young lad. And btw, ALL the current & past laws within our nation were and are based upon Judaeo Christian doctrine and mores including the founding document of this Republic, our Constitution, which expressly includes: GOD.

        So go back to Middlebury or UVM and keep on getting indoctrinated and parroting it all back like the good young communist in training you show yourself to be. BUT, give your mommy a call – she made the “choice” to not slaughter you in utero with her “personal body”.

      • Kathy,

        Are you able to have discussions without insulting others? It speaks more to the lack of your character that you are incapable of that. Insulting me also doesn’t diminish any of my points, as hard as you might try.

        As I asked Frank, is your logic because “X action” leads to a negative “Y action” that we should therefore criminalize “X action”?

        I’m so glad you brought up our founding document, as the word prostitution isn’t mentioned in the Constitution a single time. It is also not mentioned in Vermont’s Constitution.

      • Oh and btw, Christian – you are a MASSIVE sexist who knows ZIPPO about womanhood & gender discrimination and the suffrage movement. I’ve been a female since the day I was born decades ago……know why? Because a person CANNOT biologically alter their gender. Henceforth, I know full well what demeans & dehumanizes women: YOU do NOT KNOW.

      • Kathy,

        Why am I a “MASSIVE sexist”?

        That’s a bit assumptive of you to be able to tell me that I know “ZIPPO” about numerous subjects but that is your opinion.

        Your stream of consciousness might make sense to you, but I’m having a hard time understanding the logic you are using. Maybe you could help clarify…so you want to keep prostitution criminalized because you know that prostitution demeans and dehumanizes women?

        What additional thing do I not know?

      • Wow…..Pretty sure I made MY case in citing the FBI, the DOJ, & the Netherlands “decriminalization” of prostitution as valid & real reasons, amongst all the others cite on here that prostitution is injurious to women. Those, along with the fact that I AM a woman & you’re NOT should make it more than obvious that I have first hand knowledge, again, with regard to what harms/objectifies/demeans/dehumanizes women more than you.

        If you argue that to not be the case, I suppose you also know equally well or MORE as to what it feels like to be a black man if you’re white, or a white man if you’re black. Sorry, such is irrational & impossible. I KNOW full well that aborting unborn babies (i.e.: a fetus which is an unborn baby as per mainstream Dictionary definitions) and selling one’s body for cash in the MAJORITY of cases (according yet again to DOJ/FBI stats) to purchase drugs/alcohol to satisfy an addiction is NOT empowering.

        And just how did I insult you?? Because I can tell you flat out that you insulted me, all women (especially the 95% of prostitutes as cited by the government who wish to get out of the sex “trade” but CANNOT; read the factual evidence yourself) by feebly claiming that this is part of our inherent, God-given right to free speech somehow(?) or that this type of objectification & dehumanization of women in brothels is somehow, some way “empowering” in “allowing” women to do with their bodies just as they want. Right. So is slaughtering your children too.

        You further ignorantly bring forth the Constitution into this in stating that “prostitution” was never named – well, NEITHER were BLACK men, neither were WOMEN when the assertion that “all men are created equal”…though I presume that you very liberally proclaim that that’s what the founding father’s “meant” but of course……

        You are indeed a massive sexist as are the other males on here who come forward to proclaim their support of scantily clad women being lined up as though like cattle at a farm auction so a “male” can “righteously” use her body for HIS sole pleasure and walk away after paying.

        Our laws, including our VT STATE LAW that PROHIBITS prostitution are again based upon Judaeo Christian mores as was the Constitution – like it or not.

        Prostitution is an abomination and a grievous sin against God; the fact that you almost certainly do NOT believe He exists does NOT make Him non-existent, and if you want to hear a litany of evidentiary proofs that demonstrate His existence – I’ll have to do a VERY lengthy call on that as I’m not going to use Guy’s website to recite & describe facts to you that you yourself can readily garner from a RELIABLE source on the net.

        Sorry but VT is NO longer the state it once was and has gone in a Godless, evil, twisted, sick, perverted, discriminatory direction that will NOT end well for anyone.

        Says who? Me. Freedom of speech. As a woman who knows women better than men. And as per the at least 50% of the nation’s populace who are fighting you & this insane ideology tooth & nail. And always shall.

      • I am asking you to expand upon your case. So again, do you support banning “X action” because it leads to a negative “Y action”? I ask because that logical standpoint leaves you open to defending the criminalization of every behavior imaginable that could have any possible negative action. Should we ban alcohol because of its injuries to women? How about driving because women can get injured in car crashes? That is why I consider this logical standpoint indefensible. Unless you will just admit that you don’t want to ban every “X action” that harms women, just the ones that offend your moral sensibilities (which are subjective).

        You being a woman is extremely irrelevant to this conversation but for some reason you keep bringing it up as some kind of trump card. The only kind of people that I know that seek to use an oppression hierachy like this are the liberals that you seem to despise so much. You even use their same language by throwing -ists. As someone who seemingly comes across as not liking liberals, you sure are behaving like one.

        Please don’t put words in my mouth for things I haven’t said. I haven’t claimed that prostitution is part of our right to free speech. I haven’t claimed that prostitution is empowering. You are falsely claiming what I have said and then arguing against those false claims. To reiterate: I am claiming that prostitution should be legal based on the non-aggression principle, our rights to private business, and the right to enter into private contracts. Argue against those claims, not the false ones I never said.

        Do you know when prostitution criminalization laws were enacted? Here’s a hint, not when our states or Republic were founded. Brothels were widely available throughout the 1800s (also see Nevada). As much as you rely on history, most of this criminalization didn’t occur until the moral panic of the early 1900s. I pointed out the Constitution because for someone who is insistent on pointing out the Judeo-Christian nature of our laws, I find it odd that a grievous sin like this (your words) was legal at our founding, and not criminalized until much later. Clearly those wise founders didn’t share the same view as you on this issue. I also bring up the Constitution in defense of our individual rights, despite people like you who want to use their own morality to criminalize activities and attempt to control the population.

      • So based upon your time line of when prostitution was criminalized in the 1800’s – I guess you believe then that slavery ought to be reinstated too then, as THAT was just only recently banned in that exact same century! What’s the difference? Ohhh…..treated African Americans is very bad, but “allowing” women to be prostitutes is A-OK. NO. As a WOMAN, it is certainly NOT for ALL the reasons I have already elaborated & for all the many reasons others have provided as well. Free “enterprise” (a concept most leftists generally claim they dislike) does NOT encompass placing people in positions where they are routinely treated poorly, based in dangerous & compromising positions and generally dehumanized.

        As far as elaborating further, I have given you a number of my sources on here TWICE. You can choose to go onto the web and look up governmental statistical data & research conducted by the FBI, the DOJ, innumerable law enforcement officials, watch the video of the recent Montpelier Council meeting on this disgraceful topic wherein an expert on the damage done to prostitutes is detailed, read reports from (yet again) politicians in various countries in the Netherlands who attempted to “protect” sex “workers” by decriminalizing this and how it created a WORSE situation in their cities that they can no longer manage & tourists cannot tolerate. I do NOT need to lay this out for you – you’re a college student or recent grad – YOU do the work & research I have already done.

        But most importantly, you shall NEVER be able to have first-hand knowledge of the emotional, mental, or even physical damage imparted to women by males with your sexist attitudes who believe that both selling your body to males for money or slaughtering your own progeny in utero are “rights” one can choose to partake in and aligns with the nation’s principals of “free enterprise”; how lame, ignorant, and alarmingly sexist.

        As far as this somehow, in your mind, being a Constitutional issue, it is not. The founders could NEVER have pinpointed & made mention of every societal scenario and in fact – this is precisely why blacks and women receive no mention whatsoever insofar as “rights” as they either held none or very, very few. Yet you imply that the fact that these framers never mentioned “prostitution” is some type of green light for installing it? Perhaps you ought to also speak to a Constitutional lawyer, preferably a constitutional conservative to see if your personal interpretation of allowing prostitution in America is somehow contained within the text of this document. Prostitution is ILLEGAL on a federal level – as is illegal immigration – both of which, and many more illegal, illicit, & ungodly violations are now being undertaken with a giant stamp of approval by the Biden/Harris cesspool of socialists.

        Tell ya what…if males are so animalistic in terms of their desires and desperately need to pay to assuage or satiate personal proclivities, simply just do it the Bill Clinton way, or his pal Jeffrey Epstein, or how about JFK? Wait there’s more: Andrew Cuomo, his ‘bro Chris, NY’s Weiner and Spitzer too! Yes, males, and particularly “liberal” males have certainly historically conducted themselves with the greatest care & respect & dignity for women throughout the last few decades especially. And for a class recognized as “protected” (i.e.: WOMEN) it appears your gender and even your party itself may not be in the best position to make decisions as to the general WELFARE and GREATER GOOD of women whatsoever. And do feel free to take that personally as a male who connotes brothels with “best business” practices. How shameful & how sexist.

        Go do some homework as aforementioned above before continuing a discussion on a topic that you clearly comprehend little about other than the obvious fact that your progressive party has informed you, as with murdering one’s own baby, that this is good for women. It is NOT, never has been, and NEVER shall be. And on a somewhat unrelated topic, though not completely so, this nation will NEVER be “transformed” into any disastrous dystopian Socialist Republic no matter how long hypocritical Bernie Sanders continues his rages & rants. Just sayin’. We know where you all are headed & we’re NOT coming along.

      • I said the “early 1900s” not 1800s. For some reason you again keep mistating what I say which is a huge logical fallacy. Slavery doesn’t involving consenting adults and violates the non-aggression principle. It also isn’t mentioned in the Constitution, yet was justified by the use of the same morals, god, and bible that you argue with now.

        Why can’t you answer my questions? It’s very simple so I’ll just keep asking and see if you keep deflecting: Should we ban alcohol because of its injuries to women? How about driving because women can get injured in car crashes? That is why I consider this logical standpoint indefensible. Unless you will just admit that you don’t want to ban every “X action” that harms women, just the ones that offend your moral sensibilities (which are subjective).

  2. Since when is it up to one person or group of people to define what is or not offensive, what is offense to one person may not be to another. Isn’t that the basis for free speech?? I don’t believe the first ammendment dictates the steps to who decides what is or isn’t offensie!!

    • Once again – our laws are based on Judaeo/Christian mores & ethics, son. And our Constitution expressly derives our rights as being from GOD. Free speech is NOT synonymous with yelling “fire” in a crowded theater anymore than it is creating laws that do not protect the citizenry from potential harms or threats to our welfare such as, but not exclusive of: dangerous uncontrolled drugs, physical assault/abuse (both RAMPANT within legal AND illegal prostitution, the exploitation of a particular group (females are a PROTECTED group), etc. etc.

      I’m a: WOMAN. Are you, Mike? I think I know better than you what exploits, hyper-sexualizes, diminishes, discriminates against females than do you. So direct from a woman’s perspective (you’re not a sexist are you?) I will tell you unequivocally that prostitution is NOT “empowering”, it takes advantage of (according to what the FBI DOJ stats well document in terms of these women) women who are homeless, drug & alcohol addicted, and/or mentally ill. This issue has been researched for decades & prostitution is NOT any more beneficial to females than slaughtering your own progeny is in your womb.

      Stop buying into this radical nonsense.

  3. Is it a question of changing the scope and meaning of words? Is porn created by sex workers? Are these performers considered prostitutes? What is the definition of a prostitute? What exactly are these proposals attempting to protect?

  4. Should one endorse the trade of sex for money or other items (formerly referred as prostitution)
    One also endorses and condones a list of other criminal acts. Slavery, Forcible sex for money (prostitution) and Human trafficking. These three I mention go hand in hand with sex for money (Prostitution) No matter what the Burlington City Council chooses to call it. Apparently this Councilor Freeman condones the acts that go with prostitution, no matter what one chooses to call it.
    It’d be hard to convince many that the Burlington City Council has fulfilled their current obligations to improve things in Burlington, this is a bridge too far.

    • Human trafficking is repulsive but I think you’re conflating it with prostitution. Aren’t the basically appeasing the purple hairs that sell sex at dive bars? If we assume that’s the case, what’s the worst that could happen? Some dweebs get laid?

      • You TOO must be a male. I’m a: FEMALE and NO – that is HARDLY the WORST – try the utter objectification of women, increased drug addiction, (most prostitutes are addicts as per the FBI/DOJ) increased sex trafficking, (yes, INCREASED as what happened in the Netherlands when they tried this crap), the increased demeaning & dehumanizing of women, STD’s, MORE unwanted pregnancies & MORE slaughter of unborn babies, etc. etc. etc.

        You are a serious sexist, but I bet you are the last admit it, huh? Female humans do not exist to quench perverse carnal pleasures of males. Just so ya know.

  5. As an old radical, I’m afraid that Mr. Page has a point. Objecting to language as “offensive” is a step. I hear assumptions about “autism”, invisible disability, etc.. They irritate me. Does that give me the right to abridge other right of free speech?
    As Salman Rushdie said, a person doesn’t have the right to not be offended.

    • Sorry……we’re not TALKING about free speech here. We’re referring to objectifying, using, abusing, & continued exploitation of women. They do NOT exist to please males – however, the only reason males exist is because of: WOMEN.

  6. Let’s just skip to the chase and legalize whore houses, opium dens and all the other garbage that comes with a city in massive decline that is run by socialist criminals.

    I pity the decent people of that city. Masked, jabbed, massively taxed and enslaved to the hilt.

  7. If the Progressives (so called) want to legalize some activity and fear the language objectionable to insert it in City Codes then why don’t they just call it what it is and be specific. After all, if the subject is appropriate for Elemenetary School Children, certainly we adults won’t find the accurate descriptions to be objectionable. If the words and descriptions are objectionable and undesirable, very likely the “sex workers” in our parks and on our streets, will also be objectionable and undesirable. Those Progressives (so called) must throw some wild meetings and parties!

  8. This entire idea nauseates me. Vermont will also be a mecca for sexually transmitted diseases, break down of already shaky family values, and make Vermont a bigger laughing stock. Why not legalize heroin and cocaine while you’re at it…cuz you’re a fool if you think the issues wont get worse with allowing hookers on Pearl street! Cant wait!

      • Would this go under the “Rooms and Meals” tax structure? Would the pimps have to send out W-2 forms every year? A new minimum wage plus tips? Special ‘Taco Tuesday-ish ‘ rates? Wow! A whole new field of accounting to major in at UVM–CPA–Certified Pubic Accountant?
        As if Vermont weren’t the butt of enough jokes by late night comics already. We’ve already given them Bernie…

    • 100% CORRECT, Theresa…..and the sad reality of the men of here claiming this is great & good for society & not at ALL sexist is alarming. Read the comments above. Shocking & depressing.

  9. BTW, your “analogies” such as banning cars because they can hurt women is superficial & utterly ridiculous. Automobiles do not TARGET or VIOLATE women specifically, but prostitution indeed DOES and always HAS! Don’t join your school’s debate club any time soon, k? And BTW: Yeah, alcohol, in fact, injures & kills hundreds of thousands annually, hence women (primarily) once began the Temperance Movement as they foresaw, quite correctly, the dangers of this drug.

    Similarly, the original feminists of the 19th Century bravely fought for equality the nation over INCLUDING their very vocal disdain of prostitution as they aptly equated such ills as a type of slavery for women, as indeed it is.

    Yet, but of course, even this 21st century, men believe THEY instead know best as to what is right for women….some even on this very thread here.

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