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Friday 27 January 2023 Dublin: 7°C
Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland Minister Alan Shatter
# Prostitution
Minister for Justice examining advice on criminalising purchase of sex
Deputy Alan Shatter is currently examining the implications of introducing a ban similar to that introduced in Sweden in 1999.

THE IMPLICATIONS OF introducing a ban on the purchase of sex in Ireland is being examined by Minister for Justice and Equality Alan Shatter.

Minister Shatter made the comment in response to a question from Fine Gael TD Simon Harris in the Dáil last week.

Deputy Harris asked him about what legislation he will introduce to tackle sex trafficking here and his plans to criminalise the purchase of sex in Ireland.

In response, Minister Shatter said he is examining the Attorney General’s advice on the legal and constitutional implications of introducing a ban on the purchase of sex.

He said that the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008 criminalised the trafficking of persons for the purchase of sexual exploitation.

With regard to prostitution, the criminal law is aimed at protecting society from the more intrusive aspects of such activity from a public order perspective while also seeking to protect prostitutes from exploitation.

Under the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993, it is an offence to solicit in a street or public place for the purpose of prostitution.

“It is not an offence, in itself, to sell sex, In general, it is not an offence to purchase sex either,” said Minister Shatter.

Consequently, neither party to the transaction is currently criminalised. Any proposal to amend the law in terms of criminalising the purchase of sex would require very careful examination.

In 2010, the Swedish government completed an evaluation of its legislation criminalising the purchase of sexual services.

The legislation, also called the Swedish Model, was introduced in 1999.

Following its publication, the Dignity Project, which included representation from the Justice Department, visited Stockholm to find out more.

Minister Shatter said he is examining a report prepared by his department following the visit.

Last week, a delegation of Swedish and Norwegian police officers visited Ireland to meet with the gardaí and other groups to discuss the legislation.

Read: Law banning purchase of sex “would reduce sex trafficking and prostitution”>