Home Commodities Kathy Henry: Human beings are not commodities to be bought and sold 

Kathy Henry: Human beings are not commodities to be bought and sold 

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This commentary is by Kathy Henry, a resident of Manchester.

H.268: Statement of purpose of bill as introduced: “This bill proposes to provide limited immunity from prosecution for certain crimes for a person who, in good faith and in a timely manner, reports to law enforcement that the person is a victim of or a witness to a crime that arose from the person’s involvement in prostitution or human trafficking and to create a sex work study committee for the purpose of modernizing Vermont’s prostitution laws.”

As if the rapidly rising violent crime rates, ever-increasing taxes, and the sudden inability of the self-professed “party of science” to be able to distinguish between the inherent differences in the unalterable DNA of males and females aren’t enough to be grateful to our ever-so “progressive” controlled Legislature, it’s about darn time that Vermont women specifically impart gratitude to the brilliant minds in Montpelier, as we now all embrace impending legalization of prostitution in the Green Mountain State. 

If you’ve ever considered yourself a strong, independent-minded feminist or are one of the many millions who have personally experienced how millennia of misogyny, inequities in pay and social stature, sexual objectification and harassment in the workplace, the media, and in our culture overall have made so many women’s lives agonizing, get ready to change your tune, sisters! These legislators, in their infinite wisdom, have now passed legislation legalizing prostitution in certain regions of the state, with a host of brothels invariably coming to communities such as yours in the very near future. 

Eager to learn the illogical logic behind this latest fanatical maneuver in the event you might have thought that emptying prisons and defunding police wasn’t luminous enough? 

These legislators exaltedly proclaim that cashing in on one’s private parts is but “an affirmation of people’s rights over their own bodies,” quoting promoter Emilie Kornheiser, D-Brattleboro, whilst the remaining legislators who voted “yea” all nodded in drone-like fashion as they collectively attempt to describe the selling one’s own body (the majority of those being women) for money as “empowering” to we of the feminine persuasion. Require further Machiavellian reasoning? Well, apparently not allowing women and men to cede their bodies to others for cash is also racist. 

So, despite the fact that many decades of U.S. Department of Justice statistics demonstrate that prostitution is obviously exploitive and that such trade increases the frequency of other crimes in areas where it occurs, despite our lawmakers learning in-person expert testimony from numerous human rights organizations in unflagging opposition, in spite of the government statistics that demonstrate that an estimated 90% of prostitutes would prefer to be given a pathway out, regardless of the facts that approximately 80% of such sex workers are sadly addicted or suffer from untreated mental health maladies, and finally — in contradiction with the very Constitution of our state of Vermont itself, which expressly prohibits prostitution — these politicos within the Vermont Legislature nevertheless voted to legalize. 

And it is now that they benevolently envision your daughters and granddaughters are provided the extraordinary “opportunity” to sell themselves as sex objects. 

Over the past couple of decades, other nations which have legalized this vice have inadvertently seen higher crime and sex trafficking rates of all types, not a decrease. 

Human beings are not commodities to be bought and sold on an open market regardless of the supposed intent of ameliorating social problems. Such attitudes are akin to why slavery was once also an approved practice and have now long been considered obviously abhorrent and inhumane. 

Party-line voting is an existential threat. Learn what your legislators, who are obliged only to represent you and your voice, are voting for and against in Montpelier before presuming that they are working in your best interests. Our legislators’ voting records are easily accessed online or via a phone call. Not being acutely aware of the platforms and ideologies of any candidate is foolhardy. Only when one votes in a fully informed state of mind can one fulfill their civic duty. Voting ought never be rote. 

Recall the old cigarette ads of the 1960s, which purportedly appealed to women’s “newfound” freedom and sense of independence ignited by the once unadulterated and virtuous crusade of the mid-20th century feminist movement: “You’ve come a long way, Baby”?

Well, here in Vermont? We apparently haven’t.

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Tags: Emilie Kornheiser, H.268, kathy henry, prostitution, sex work study committee

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