Governor Mills has signed legislation into law that partially decriminalizes prostitution in Maine.

What Are the Details of the Law?

LD 1435, ' An Act to Reduce Commercial Sexual Exploitation,' was signed into law on Monday by Maine Governor Janet Mills. The measure, sponsored by Representative Lois Reckitt of South Portland, partially decriminalizes prostitution. What this means is that it will no longer be illegal for people who engage in prostitution, but it will increase penalties for those who solicit children for commercial sexual exploitation, which will be raised from a misdemeanor to a felony with a maximum punishment of five years in state prison. To clarify, this law decriminalizes the prostitute (seller) but not the person paying for the services.

WQCB Brewer Maine logo
Get our free mobile app

What Are Supporters Saying About the Measure?

Representative Reckitt is the Director of Family Crisis Services in Portland and is an advocate for victims of domestic abuse. She says this measure will help people pushed into prostitution by extreme circumstances.

We are long overdue to better protect and decriminalize sellers engaged in prostitution without legalizing pimping and sex buying.

According to the Associated Press, supporters of the measure, like Lauren Hersh of World Without Exploitation say the answer to the issue of trafficking is not to punish the sellers, who are often from marginalized communities and have already experienced long-term trauma. She says it needs to, instead, hold 'the exploiters and abusers accountable.'

How About the Detractors?

Not everyone is happy with the new law, however. The Portland Press Herald reports that some members of the sex work industry believe the measure doesn't go far enough because it will still be illegal for people to purchase sex, which means sex workers could continue to face threats. In addition, they say, the fact that purchasing sex is illegal will adversely affect the seller's ability to make a living.

The new law goes into effect 90 days after the Maine Legislature adjourns.

LOOK: The 25 least expensive states to live in

Here are the top 25 states with the lowest cost of living in 2022, using data Stacker culled from the Council for Community and Economic Research.

LOOK: Baby boomer baby names that have gone out of style

Using info from the Social Security Administration's baby name database, Stacker compiled a list of baby boomer baby names that have declined in popularity.



More From WQCB Brewer Maine