A Senate bill introduced on March 14 would legalize prostitution in the State of Vermont.
S.125 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.”
The bill also cites a 2018 analysis of studies that show that current sex work laws and policing practices negatively impact sex workers’ safety, health, and access to services. The analysis concludes that, “There is an urgent need to reform sex-work-related laws and institutional practices so as to reduce harms and barriers to the realization of health.” The bill, rather than seek the recommended “reform,” seeks to repeal these laws entirely, in cases of adult, “voluntary” prostitution.
The bill was sponsored by ten senators, led by Rebecca White (D-White River Junction) and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. This bill comes less than a month after a similar bill, H. 372, was introduced into the House.