According to The Guardian, Northern Ireland passed a controversial law on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 targeting prostitution clients by making it illegal to pay for sex.
The legislation outlawing buying sex is found in one clause in the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill, and was subsequently approved in the Stromont assembly’s affirmative vote on the overarching bill.
According to The Guardian, at least one politician, Justice Minister David Ford, opposed addressing several different issues in one piece of legislation, stating that he didn’t believe “the complexities of prostitution can be adequately addressed in a single clause in a bill.”
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A recent survey of Northern Ireland sex workers revealed that an overwhelming majority of sex workers also opposed the new law and didn’t believe criminalizing their clients would serve to “protect” them, but would actually have the opposite effect. According to The Guardian, “about 17,500 men pay for sex in Northern Ireland every year.”
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