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Prostitution in Scotland: what does the current law say?

Commercial Sexual Exploitation
26 October 2020
Prostitution 28p429 What you can do 0 25

The Scottish Government is currently consulting on the best way to challenge demand for prostitution.

This consultation may then pave the way for a change in the current law on prostitution in Scotland.

According to the Ministerial Forward, the Scottish Government wants to:

  • challenge men's demand for prostitution
  • work to reduce the harms associated with prostitution
  • support women to exit

The consultation sets out a range of different approaches to prostitution law and encourages the public to select which one they think is most appropriate.

But what does the cur­rent law say?

Buying or selling sex in Scotland is legal. But there are a range of related activities which are illegal. These include:

  • Running a brothel.
  • Publicly soliciting for the purposes of selling sex.
  • Publicly soliciting for the purposes of purchasing sex.
  • Loitering in a public place for the purposes of selling sex.
  • Loitering in a public place for the purposes or purchasing sex.
  • Illegal to procure someone into becoming a prostitute to have sex with other people.
  • Trafficking persons for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

Rel­ev­ant Legislation

There are a number of laws which currently govern the buying and selling of sex in Scotland:

  1. UK Government (1982) Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982
  2. Scottish Parliament (2007) Prostitution (Public Places) (Scotland) Act 2007

Does the law need to change?

Answering this question is why the Scottish Government have launched this consultation. It’s all part of its Equally Safe Strategy, which aims to reduce violence against women and girls.

Prostitution, as one form of commercial sexual exploitation, is an example of violence against women and girls.

CARE takes the view that the purchase of sex should be criminalised and support services for people leaving prostitution require further investment.

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Commercial Sexual Exploitation

We believe people were made for purpose, not purchase. Exploitation within the sex industry affects some of the most vulnerable in our society. CARE is working for better laws to protect them.

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