By Guy Page
A new House bill would strike down all state laws prohibiting prostitution.
H630, whose lead sponsor is Selene Colburn (P-Burlington), would “repeal the prostitution laws that currently prohibit “indiscriminate sexual intercourse” and consensual engagement in sex work for hire by adults while retaining strict prohibitions and felony criminal penalties for human trafficking of persons who are compelled through force, fraud, or coercion to engage in sex work.”
Like the proposed Burlington charter change scheduled to go before voters in March, H630 would create a “decriminalization” of supposedly consensual prostitution. Whereas in Nevada and other jurisdictions prostitution is a regulated business, H630 would create a legal environment in which all consensual prostitution would be legal and unregulated by the State.
H630 was introduced today, Jan. 14 and assigned to House Judiciary, where Colburn is an influential member. Other sponsors are Emilie Kornheiser of Brattleboro, Tiffany Bluemle of Burlington, Brian Cina of Burlington, Katherine Donnally of Hyde Park, John Killacky of South Burlington, Emma Mulvaney-Stanak of Burlington, William Notte of Rutland, Barbara Rachelson of Burlington, Taylor Small of Winooski, Heather Surprenant of Barnard, Tanya Vyhovsky of Essex, and Rebecca White of Hartford.
The bill claims that existing laws “reflect the social mores of the early 1900s, criminalizing not only voluntary sex work but sexual activity outside marriage, and no longer reflect Vermont’s commitment to personal and bodily autonomy.”
Opponents of legal prostitution say the institution is inherently unjust and oppressive to women and is linked to increased drug abuse and violence, regardless of its legal status.