St. Johnsbury is a small community of about 6,000 residents in northeastern Vermont without reports of a substantial local prostitution problem, and police are not known to have contucted reverse stings or used other tactics targeting demand. However, an initiative the focuses on demand is located in the town: The “Demand No Demand” project, which began as a project of a St. Johnsbury Prep student. The initaitive is designed to end the demand for modern day slavery around the world, starting in the U.S. The program proceeds from the assumption that modern day slavery is driven by demand, and that demand is fueled by tolerance of cultural messages normalizing, sexualizing, and idealizing commercial sex and exploitation. While combating demand relies on lawmakers and law enforcement and other institutions, Demand No Demand seeks to make a difference by enlisting the support of anyone to create cultural change and reduce tolerance for exploitation. The project attempts to fight demand by asking people to pledge non-participation in industries influencing this “cultural mindset.” The pledge, represented by the acronym C.E.A.S.E., asks participants to:
- Confront the impact of our culture on the demand for sex trafficking
- Eliminate cultural messages that normalize and idealize commercial sex or that sexualize children
- Avoid participation in any activity directly involved in the commodification of human beings
- Stop any funding to industries associated with commercial sex including pornography, prostitution, and trafficking
- Empower others to understand and take action against human trafficking.
The website also provides educational resources (such as a description of john school programs)and links to other organizations and their resources.
In a recent scandal, a Caledonia County deputy was reported to be under investigation for an assortment of crimes including extortion, threats, prostitution, and obstruction of justice. According to news sources, the investigation began in April of 2020 following evidence of the deputy engaging in an exchange of favors for nude photos. Despite not previously using shaming as a tactic to address prostitution demand, St. Johnsbury made this case particularly public; giving intimate details on the man and the crimes he has supposedly committed. In addition to the aforementioned instance of exchanging favors for elicit photos, court documents also state multiple instances of victims being paid by the deputy for sex, or alternatively earning favors, like the removal of traffic tickets, in exchange for sex.
- Demand No Demand
- Vermont State Police
Public Education & Community Action (Demand No Demand):
Background on prostitution in Vermont:
- https://www.wcax.com/2020/08/21/caledonia-county-sheriffs-deputy-charged-in-sex-for-favors-scandal/ (2020)