Mills vetoes invoice to partially legalize prostitution | Maine

(The Center Square) – Maine Gov. Janet Mills has vetoed a proposal to partly legalize prostitution in the condition, arguing that the measure would drive far more people today into the intercourse trade.

The invoice, approved by the Democratic-controlled Legislature, would have removed all penalties for participating in prostitution when expanding criminal penalties for all those who solicit prostitutes and pimps who drive them into the intercourse trade. 

Supporters of the monthly bill, which is part of a nationwide marketing campaign, say it would minimize human trafficking and aim far more methods on sex trade victims.  

In her veto message, Mills pointed out that prostitution is not more time a jailable offense in Maine below latest modifications to state legislation, and reported point out prosecutors are dealing with it as a “social products and services issue fairly legal difficulty.”  

But Mills additional she is “not persuaded” that eliminating all penalties for prostitution as the invoice called for is the “finest route ahead.” 

“No condition in the country has legalized commercial sexual intercourse operate,” Mills wrote in her veto concept. “Even in Nevada, acknowledged as the only state to have authorized commercial sex function, prostitution however illegal outdoors controlled, designated amenities in a one county.”  

Mills stated she feared approving the changes would “only increase desire and inspire the exploitation of young people by people who income from the mistreatment of other people, undermining the absolutely free will of people trapped in difficult and from time to time tragic instances.”

Mills, a former point out prosecutor and legal professional general, noted that testimony on the invoice from survivors of human trafficking was compelling, and divided.  

“Even though some hope this invoice will shield the survivors of human trafficking, a target I share, other people fear that sex traffickers would use decriminalization of prostitution as a way to entice far more people today into their trade,” she wrote.  

The bill’s principal sponsor, Rep. Lois Galgay Reckitt, D-South Portland, stated the purpose was to present a lot more protections for the victims of sex trafficking whilst growing sanctions for all those who perpetuate the trade by shelling out for sexual intercourse.  

“Prostitution therefore is redefined as a purchaser trouble and a demand from customers problem,” she told associates of the Legislature’s Prison Justice and General public Safety Committee for the duration of testimony on her invoice very last month. “The prostituted particular person is a target if a patron tried to invest in her or him.”

Mills noted in her veto concept that a individual bill, which she not too long ago signed, is a greater tactic to dealing with the challenge of intercourse trafficking. The new regulation expands the affirmative defense of participating in prostitution to “stop bodily damage major financial hardship or another danger to the particular person.” 

Mills mentioned that worries about human trafficking in Maine have developed in latest yrs, and police and prosecutors are centered on recognizing when a individual is getting compelled to have interaction in prostitution. 

“This has permitted us to rightly start out viewing and dealing with the individual as a survivor and offer that person with proper services — an solution that I think is suitable,” she wrote.