Buying sex should be illegal, says CARE

Christian social policy charity CARE has launched a new campaign aimed at changing Britain's laws on prostitution.

The charity's 'not for sale' campaign argues that a way of protecting people in prostitution is to criminalise the purchase of sex, shifting the burden of blame onto the buyer rather than the seller.

CARE is campaigning for buying sex to be made illegal.Reuters

At present in England, Wales and Scotland there is currently no law that says it is illegal to buy sex, though Northern Ireland made it a criminal offence in 2015.

Buying sex is now illegal in Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Canada, France, the Republic of Ireland and Israel.

According to CARE, evidence from Sweden shows that the law has been effective at reducing the demand for paid sex which in turn means the country is now a more hostile place for human traffickers.

CARE says many of the women who find themselves in prostitution were abused as children, had difficult or traumatic childhoods, or suffered from some other vulnerabilities such as substance abuse, or were destitute or homeless.

It says it is vital to reduce the demand for prostitution as well as providing clear exit pathways and support for those wishing to leave.

CARE's senior policy officer for human trafficking, Louise Gleich, said: 'It's time for Westminster and Holyrood to change our outdated laws on prostitution by following the evidence and Northern Ireland's lead by criminalising the purchase of sex.

'This is why CARE is launching the 'not for sale' campaign – to highlight the need for new laws to protect some of society's most vulnerable people.

'There's really great work being done by organisations to support and care for victims but if we don't change the surrounding environment to help prevent people from being exploited then more and more people will be going through the same cycle.

'For too long people trapped in prostitution have been largely ignored by our policy makers: this must change.'