Legislation

Decriminalization of prostitution – “the choice of the choiceless” – approved by Burlington council, goes to voters

Woman exploited by Vermont human traffickers describes horrific experience on NEASE video

By Flora Scott

If the Vermont Legislature allows Burlington to eliminate regulation of prostitution from its city charter, a statewide repeal of prostitution laws would open the door to legalized prostitution in Vermont’s largest city.

On December 13, the Burlington City Council approved to put a Charter change to repeal its language regulating prostitution and houses of ill fame and disorderly houses. The proposed change will go to the voters at the annual City Meeting in March. If approved then, it still needs an OK from the Legislature. 

Decriminalization on the state level will happen if Burlington Rep. Selene Colburn (P), a member of the influential House Judiciary Committee, gets her way. 

At the Dec. 13 city council meeting, Colburn stated her support in repealing what she calls the sexist and classist language in Burlington’s Charter. She said taking the language off the books in Burlington will change little in the legal landscape because of state laws, but it is a first step. And unfortunately, she said, the conversation in the state legislature is moving at a slow and deliberate pace. She supports full decriminalization. 

One opponent of full decriminalization on both the state and local levels said prostitution – legal or not – is “the choice of the choiceless.” Maggie Kerrin, Vermont Chair of New Englanders Against Sexual Exploitation, testified Dec. 13 that “more attention is needed for support services, addressing mental health issues, assisting with skills to find better jobs and housing for those who want to exit.”

Prostitution industry exploits the vulnerable, Kerrin said: “In a world where so many homeless persons, sexual abuse victims, foster care children, immigrant and indigenous women, refugees, persons of color, learning disabled, and transgender persons already suffer from lives of political, social, and economic marginalization, it is a travesty of justice to decriminalize those who take pleasure in and literally profit from their sexual exploitation.…Further, to the extent that prostitution is ever truly a choice, and for most of the people it is not, it is a choice filled with inherent dangers.”

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Categories: Legislation

18 replies »

  1. Legalizing prostitution because, you know, it stigmatizes the prostitute…Oppps, so does that title. Let’s change it to Libido therapist…There fixed everything…I feel so good to be fully woken, hear me roar.

    • It already is. What a joke Vermont has become. I was born here and lived here all my life and will most likely die here. I have always loved Vermont, but lawmakers are increasingly making it difficult.
      Prostitution…to be legal?? Disgusting.

  2. Evil blankets the city – the first ruse was that NOT allowing prostitution was (ready for it?): “racist”. Now, it’s “sexist” to not allow women to use their bodies for a man’s personal plaything. Is it also Xenaphobic? Asking for a friend.

  3. Legalization of prostitution makes as much sense as the Defund the Police idea these progressives had last year. It will produce unintended consequences, just like last year.
    This ill conceived idea is as nonsensical as “safe spaces” for drug use.

  4. Vermont’s ” Queen ” City is becoming the ” Sleaze City “, thanks to liberal in charge!!
    I guess parents your children will be getting a ” real ” education from the streets.

    Covid will be the least of your worries…………. pretty pathetic proposal !!

  5. I can’t believe that this is even an issue. It’s degrading, disgusting, dehumanizing. I would like to see the board working on this and speak to the families…wives, daughters, sisters. First the opiate crisis and if that isn’t enough, let’s get hookers selling their goods on Church Street.. wake up Vermont…are we really that morally bankrupt?

  6. Suggest first, go to the poll, second, refuse to vote for anyone who voted to approve. ASK each candidate “are you for legal prostitution”?

    • Joe,
      You’re right. This proposed travesty is not just a Burlington issue, it’s a State of Vermont issue. Before anything can happen in Burlington to decriminalize prostitution, the voters of Burlington need to vote on it. If, and that’s a big IF, it is decriminalized in Burlington, it must then be passed by the State legislature. This is when all the voters in the State of Vermont need to have some serious discussions with their elected representatives concerning the fallacy of decriminalization. And this is where the voters of Vermont see whether their representatives are worthy of voter support, or if they should be kicked out of office at the earliest possible opportunity.

  7. Human trafficking, sex tourism, exploitation of the vulnerable and illegal drug use, among other dangerous and harmful things, will explode in Vermont if these laws are passed. Selene Colburn, is truly misinformed and hopefully will be replaced when her term is completed.

  8. New welcome signage for our State “Welcome to Pervmont – where creeps come to play and stay!”

  9. This is another product of the extreme woke left.
    Let’s pray that people in Burlington say NO to this horrible idea. All city councilors who voted for this should be replaced as well.

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