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Vermont bill aims to decriminalize prostitution, make it easier to get help

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont lawmaker hopes to make prostitution safer and remove the stigma that often prevents sex workers from seeking police protection and health care.

A bill introduced last month by Rep. Selene Colburn and headed to the House floor Thursday would decriminalize prostitution, while the state would maintain its laws against sex trafficking. The bill also calls for the creation of a panel to make recommendations on modernizing Vermont’s prostitution laws.

Colburn, however, thinks a related proposal will have a better chance at movement this year. It would give immunity to people who were victims of or witnessed a crime while engaged in prostitution or sex trafficking so they can report it to law enforcement.