Charlie Buttrey

January 13, 2020

You doubtless know that prostitution is illegal in 49 states. It is, however, legal in many countries (including much of Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Bangladesh), and is decriminalized in many others.

A recent bill introduced in the Vermont legislature would decriminalize prostitution in Vermont.

I have always been conflicted about laws making prostitution illegal.  As George Carlin once pointed out, “Selling is legal. [Sex] is legal.  Why isn’t selling [sex] legal?” There are, of course, any number of reasons why a society would want to make prostitution illegal but, on balance, the damage caused by saddling women — many of whom are abused, neglected, addicted or desperate — with a criminal record strikes me as worse than the conduct being criminalized.

I find it interesting that all four of the bill’s co-sponsors are women.

And they may wish to follow the example of the U.K., where prostitution is legal, but is is illegal to solicit in a public place, to run a brothel or to pimp, and it is a crime to pay for sex with a woman who has been forced into prostitution (even if the customer is not aware that the woman has been forced).


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