A bill introduced by four women legislators, including two members of the House Judiciary Committee, would remove criminal penalties from consensual acts of prostitution. Coercing prostitution would remain a crime. Sponsor Selene Colburn of Burlington says decriminalization would help protect prostitutes from violence.
"By decriminalizing sex work, the act wouldn’t become a legal, regulated market, Colburn explained. Simply, sex work would not be illegal in the state, so charges could not be brought against a sex worker or the person paying for sex. This is a step Colburn wants to make because she doesn’t view sex work as public safety threat. “By driving sex work underground, we’re creating much more dangerous conditions for sex workers,” Colburn said. “They should feel like they have the protection of police if they need it.”
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