This week Alexis Serrano, 23, of Shelburne, pled not guilty to the prohibited act of prostitution. It's a crime very rarely charged in Vermont.
"Unless you have a third party witness that somehow identifies a problem and reports it, you wouldn't know about it," South Burlington Police Chief Trevor Whipple explained.
Police say it was witness complaints about heavy traffic of men to room 137 at the Liberty Suites motel that led to Serrano's arrest with one of her johns. Police say he confessed he paid her $200 for sex.
And police learned that prostitution was no longer so rare in Vermont.
"Certainly by looking at postings on Craigslist that there was more of it going on," Whipple said.
Serrano was one of dozens of Vermont women offering erotic services in and around Chittenden County on the website Craigslist.
Her ad notified potential customers to be ready for a good time because she is a girl of many talents and everything is possible in your time with her.
We called several of the women offering erotic services on Craigslist. We wondered if they would openly offer explicit sexual services. Some did.
Tiffany: "This is Tiffany."
Reporter Brian Joyce: "Hi Tiffany. I'm calling to inquire exactly what services you'd be providing and what the price would be?"
Tiffany: "Well, pretty much anything you want."
Joyce: "Like what?"
Tiffany: "Anything you want."
Joyce: "You mean sexually?"
Some of the women were suspicious but made it clear they knew they were breaking the law.
Amber: "You're not a cop are you?"
Joyce: "No, I'm not a cop."
Chittenden County residents we spoke with say it's a quality of life issue that needs to be nipped in the bud.
"It'll only get bigger. It's one of those snowball effect things you know like drugs, you know, and gangs," said Dan Harris, of South Burlington.
"With prostitution comes the guys that run it and more drugs which we don't need," said Frank Simms, of Milton.
"Basically coercing young women into it because they have no other way to make money and maybe they have a drug habit," said Kelsy Raap, of Shelburne.
Whipple said, "It clearly is a problem we wish to address. I don't know that it's something that we're going to put our detectives on and assign to a vice squad."
No vice squad yet, but police are now on notice that prostitution arrests may no longer be a rarity in Vermont.
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