How Can I Safely and Respectfully Find a Sex Worker? | Ask the Rev. | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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How Can I Safely and Respectfully Find a Sex Worker?

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Published October 13, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated October 26, 2021 at 2:37 p.m.


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Dear Reverend,

Now that sex work is decriminalized in our state, I'm wondering how to safely and respectfully go about finding a sex worker. My preference would be cis women.

In an ideal world, I would find someone I would have a compatible personality with and be able to talk to. But I'd also be happy with strictly transactional sex. I have paid for sexual services before, and I've experienced both kinds.

It feels like a topic that isn't appropriate to bring up with any of my friends, men or women, so I don't know where to start.

Johnny Cumlately (male, 32)

Dear Johnny Cumlately,

The first thing you should do is research Vermont laws about sex work, because it definitely has not been decriminalized. A bill that was passed, H.18, took effect on July 1. It states that if a person reports being a victim or a witness to a crime that occurred while they were involved in prostitution, that person "shall not be cited, arrested, or prosecuted for a violation of the prostitution statutes or for minor drug possession."

While there are some sex workers in the business of their own accord, the trade is unfortunately rife with human trafficking. Vermont's law is mainly meant to prevent human-trafficking victims, sex workers and, sometimes, clients from being afraid to report crimes committed against them. The law has nothing to do with decriminalization of transactional sex.

It's crucial that you fully understand all the legalities, potential harms and personal risks involved in soliciting. Locally, the Ishtar Collective — Vermont's only organization dedicated to sex workers' rights and welfare — advocates for policy change in the state, fights sex trafficking and aims to destigmatize this line of work. You can show your support for that mission by attending Ishtar's annual fundraiser on October 22, from 5 to 9 p.m., at Switchback Brewing in Burlington.

Good luck and God bless,

The Reverend

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