Survey suggests that 17,500 men in Northern Ireland pay for sex each year

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27th October 2014 17:38 - Central Government

A study conducted by Queen’s University, Belfast, has shown that approximately 17,500 men are paying for sex each year.

The research, commissioned by the Department of Justice, comes in the wake of the proposal by DUP peer Lord Morrow to pass a Human Trafficking Bill. The Human Trafficking Bill endeavours to make it illegal to buy sex.

171 sex workers and 446 clients were surveyed, by researchers, who aimed to focus on all aspects of prostitution, which includes exploitation and trafficking.

Results from the research suggest that:

·         Approximately 20 individuals work as prostitutes on Northern Ireland’s streets.

·         The majority of sex workers work from home and advertise their services online.

·         The number of people available for sex work per day is between 300 and 350.

·         There is a high amount of male sex workers in Northern Ireland.

·         Less than 1% of the respondent’s admitted to being forced into prostitution.

Consensual, paid for sex, is not illegal in Northern Ireland. Although, using a venue to sell sex with other prostitutes, using the services of a pimp, and touting for sex in a public area are all criminal offences.

Most sex workers questioned disagreed that it should be illegal to buy sex.

Over 1 in 3 men who were surveyed wrongly believed that they were breaking the law by paying for sex.

In support of DUP peer Lord Morrow’s Human Trafficking Bill, a separate poll suggested that 80% of people in Northern Ireland support making prostitution illegal.

People between the ages of 16 and 34 were most in favour of the Human Trafficking Bill.

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