New law partially decriminalizes prostitution in Maine

Published: Jun. 26, 2023 at 5:28 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WMTW) - Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill into law Monday that partially decriminalizes prostitution in Maine.

The bill, LD 1435, as amended, eliminates the crime of engaging in prostitution and raises the solicitation of a child for commercial sexual exploitation from a Class D crime to a Class C crime.

The bill also makes language changes in state law to rename the crime of “patronizing prostitution of a minor or a person with a mental disability” to “commercial sexual exploitation of a minor or a person with a mental disability” and renames the crime of “solicitation of a child to engage in prostitution” to “solicitation of a child for commercial sexual exploitation.”

“We are long overdue to better protect and decriminalize sellers engaged in prostitution without legalizing pimping and sex buying­, acts that would expand the market in Maine,” said bill sponsor Rep. Lois Reckitt of South Portland. “LD 1435 is the responsible, effective way to help the sex trade’s most vulnerable, particularly Maine kids.

The law will go into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns.

“Today, I am so proud to live here in Maine,” said Tricia Grant, a survivor of sexual exploitation who chose to speak and name herself. “This legislation is firmly rooted in anti-trafficking and acknowledges that arresting and revictimizing people for their own exploitation is not the solution. Rather, holding the exploiters and abusers accountable is the answer.”