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Colchester is a town in Chittenden County, Vermont, that has a population of about 17,500. It borders Burlington, Vermont’s most populous city. Prostitution and sex trafficking are known to be widespread in the city and surrounding areas, and have been for decades. For example, in November 1981 a man was arrested and charged with operating a local prostitution ring under the guise of an escort service. The Chittenden County State’s Attorney reportedly considered whether to release the names of more than 20 men who appeared on a “client list” and may have patronized the alleged prostitution ring. Four women were also cited into court on prostitution charges, and police seized a list of more than 20 clients, some of whom reportedly were well-known in the Burlington area. A number of human trafficking investigations across Vermont between 2013 and 2016 — including in Burlington, Shelburne, Colchester, Williston, Rutland, and Bennington — involved massage spas and parlors serving as fronts for illegal activity. Authorities said that traffickers would bring young women to Vermont from overseas or other states and force them into commercial sex. A federal grant application submitted in 2018 by the statewide Human Trafficking Task Force showed that the number of victims who received services in Vermont jumped by almost 400 percent between 2015 and 2017, from 31 to 150 people. The number of sex trafficking investigations doubled in that same period of time, from 31 to 64. In 2018, two Chinese citizens were arrested and accused of running a prostitution and sex trafficking ring in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Federal authorities said Chinese women were forced to meet men for paid sex. The married couple used social media to recruit an unknown number of Chinese women, allegedly helping them obtain U.S. visas and flying them from China to airports across the U.S. The couple allegedly promised the women, who spoke little to no English, hundreds of dollars a day, and then advertised sex with them on BackPage.com. They allegedly transported the women to hotels across northern New England, including South Burlington and Colchester, Vermont. The pair faced several felony charges, including sex trafficking.
- Colchester Police Department
- Chittenden County Deputy State’s Attorney
- Vermont State Police
Sex Buyer Arrests, Employment Loss, and Public Disclosure:
- https://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/former-colchester-police-dispatcher-denies-he-fed-info-prostitute (2017)
Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area:
- https://www.upi.com/Chittenden-County-States-Attorney-Mark-Keller-is-wrestling-with/ (1981)
- “Prostitution Bust Catches Local Man, Shelburne Woman”, St. Albans Messenger, September 3 2008.
- “Woman, Man Arrested on Prostitution Charges”, Rutland Herald, September 4 2008.
- “Vt. Prostitutes One Click Away”, CBS/WCAX-TV 3, October 10 2008.
- “Shelburne Woman Admits Prostitution”, Montpelier-Barre Times Argus, March 18 2009.
- “Tip about Prostitution Leads to Woman’s Arrest”, St. Albans Messenger, April 22 2009.
- “Prostitution Bust in South Burlington”, CBS/WCAX-TV 3, April 23 2009.
- “Rutland Woman Arrested in South Burlington Prostitution Investigation”, Rutland Herald, January 27 2013.
- “Police Investigate Possible Prostitution Ring”, ABC/WVNY-TV 22, June 14 2013.
- “Shelburne Woman Accused of Prostitution in Court”, ABC/WVNY-TV 22, June 14 2013.
- https://www.wcax.com/NH-couple-accused-of-enticing-Chinese-into-sex-trafficking (2018)
- https://www.justice.gov/defendants-charged-multiple-counts-related-interstate-prostitution-and-sex-trafficking (2018)
- https://www.mychamplainvalley.com/mcallister-wins-new-trial-on-prostitution-related-charge (2018)
- https://www.telegram.com/rutland-to-consider-censure-for-selectman-arrested-in-worcester-prostitution-sting (2018)
- https://www.justice.gov/vermont-man-who-exploited-opioid-addictions-young-women-convicted-multiple-counts-sex (2019)
- https://www.caledonianrecord.com/court-testimony-prostitution-human-trafficking-case-details-vermont (2019)
- https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/trafficked/Content (2019)
- https://www.cctv.org/end-child-prostitution-and-trafficking (2019)
- https://www.justice.gov/convicted-sex-trafficker-sentenced-270-months-prison (2020)
- https://www.wcax.com/massage-parlor-law-human-trafficking/ (2021)
State Decriminalization of Prostitution:
- https://www.mynbc5.com/lawmakers-propose-bill-to-decriminalize-prostitution (2023)
- https://www.wcax.com/vt-bill-would-decriminalize-sex-work/ (2023)
- https://www.mychamplainvalley.com/push-for-bill-decriminalizing-adult-sex-work/ (2023)
- https://vtdigger.org/final-reading-advocates-look-to-decriminalize-sex-work/ (2023)
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