Out in the Open statement on H. 568, 569, and 651 - A trio of proposed legislation affecting the lives of sex workers in Vermont
Out in the Open stands with sex workers throughout Vermont, in all rural places, and in all places. Sex work is work. It is long past the time to decriminalize sex work in Vermont and we are pleased that this conversation is on the table during this legislative session. Justice for sex workers is interconnected and part of our fight for collective liberation.
There are three bills being currently considered by the VT State Judiciary Committee: H. 568, 569, and 651.
H. 568 & 569 (being considered together) would decriminalize sex work in Vermont while retaining federal human trafficking laws (H. 569) and form a Sex Work Study Committee (H. 568) to continue digging into updating VT law as relating to sex workers. We are strongly in favor of decriminalizing sex work in Vermont and urge support of H. 569 in this regard.
We understand that H. 569 has a sibling piece of proposed legislation, H. 568, “An Act Relating to Human Trafficking and Prostitution” intended to create a Study Committee to modernize Vermont’s laws with regard to sex work. We applaud this effort to look at and improve (or remove) laws governing sex work in Vermont. We also have some specific feedback on this proposed bill:
H. 651 provides specific guidance on what would become the only legal way(s) to practice sex work. Regulation legislation can create harm for people practicing sex work and have greater negative impacts on those who are also street-based and/or low-income and/or people of color. Proposed regulations like those described in the current text of H. 651 create the possibility of increased interactions with police, instances of incarceration, and fines. Out in the Open does not support H. 651 as currently written.
We’d like to address some specific concerns with the current version of H. 651:
Some questions that we have:
For more resources on sex workers rights organizing: