Legislature considers Burlington prostitution decrim today

By Guy Page

The proposed Burlington charter change to decriminalize prostitution will be reviewed by the House Government Operations Committee at 1 pm today.

The hearing may be seen live and recorded at the committee’s Zoom link

As approved by City Meeting voters in March, the change would remove all language prohibiting prostitution, effectively decriminalizing the “oldest profession” in the Queen City. The Burlington decriminalization is seen as the first effort to decriminalize, or legalize-and-regulate, prostitution across the state. 

If eventually approved by the Legislature, the bill will likely face close scrutiny by Gov. Phil Scott. His veto of another controversial proposed charter change – teenage voting in Brattleboro – was upheld by the Senate last week. And Scott is on the record opposing legal prostitution statewide. Legal prostitution isn’t “what Vermont needs at this point,” Gov. Phil Scott said at his weekly press conference March 3.

A coalition of Burlington lawmakers are pushing H630, whose lead sponsor is Selene Colburn (P-Burlington). H630 would “repeal the state’s prostitution laws that currently prohibit ‘indiscriminate sexual intercourse’ and consensual engagement in sex work for hire by adults (18 years old) 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.”

The bill to repeal state prostitution laws claims they “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 call prostitution in any form “the choice of the choiceless” because it is inherently oppressive. It is also linked to drug abuse and an increased rate of illegal prostitution.

Those scheduled to testify today include:

  • Michele Childs, Legislative Counsel, Office of Legislative Counsel
  • Daniel Richardson, City Attorney, Burlington
  • Maggie Kerrin, Vermont Chair, New Englanders Against Sexual Exploitation (NEASE)
  • Christopher-Aaron Felker, Chairman, Burlington Republican Party – ZOOM
  • Tucker Anderson, Legislative Counsel, Office of Legislative Counsel

7 replies »

  1. Just think about the tourism possibilities for Burlington with all those pillars of salt around the city !

  2. This is definitely not just a Burlington issue. The amount of tax dollars that will be required for additional social, police and health services will NOT come from Burlington taxpayers alone. Copious state and federal funds will be required to offset the social, crime and mental health issues that are directly attributable to the effects of prostitution and Human trafficking. Every Vermont taxpayer has a stake in the results of this pre-determined debate. Once again, both the Burlington City Council and Vermont Legislature intend to show us how foolishly liberal and progressive they are- Without becoming accountable for the carnage of their actions.

    • Perhaps the state can tax prostitution to make up for the loss in revenue, when there is no more gas tax? (After we are socially engineered into buying electric vehicles)

  3. Good to see that both Burlington and the demoprogs of the VT Legislature are laser-focused on the most pressing issues at hand. Burlington is a lost cause, but please let’s not taint the rest of Vermont with this malaise. This is NOT in the interest of harm reduction or public health. Fortunately, there are plenty of places to shop and recreate outside of Burlington so that decent people dont ever have to go there.

  4. How many “officials” in this State are involved in trafficking drugs and/or people? The agenda being pushed to normalize pedos, trans, and the sadistic exploitation of people shows Pervmont is not a joke name for this State. Those involved in all crimes against humanity will know God’s wrath.

  5. hey if 2 adults want to have sex go to it!… Why does money have anything to do with it ? Once money get involved its a profession…one thing leads to another then we have a pimp involved..” their boss/ manager…see where I,m going here ? Most women can find other things to do with her time…if a woman feels selling her body is the only way she can survive FREE COUNSELING SHOULD BE READILY AVAILABLE FOR HER AT ALL TIMES AND FOR AS LONG AS NEEDED !

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