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International Women's Day 2023: Call for laws criminalising the purchase of sex

Commercial Sexual Exploitation
8 March 2023
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CARE is urging the UK and Scottish governments to curb commercial sexual exploitation on International Women's Day 2023.

We believe it should be an offence to purchase sexual services anywhere in the UK - an approach known as the 'Nordic Model' or 'Equality Model'.

Louise Davies MBE, Director of Advocacy and Policy at CARE, comments:

“This International Women’s Day we want to draw attention to the harms women face in the commercial sex industry. Prostitution is extremely harmful for most of those involved. Whether that is through violence and coercion or long term mental and physical health problems. In order to address the harms of sexual exploitation it is imperative to reduce the demand for prostitution so that fewer people are at risk.

"An effective way to do this is to make it a criminal offence to purchase sex. Introducing laws to criminalise the buyer of sex directly targets the inequality, harm and exploitation at the heart of prostitution. It also holds those driving demand responsible for their actions. We also need to help women exit prostitution. This means that each jurisdiction should have a dedicated strategy to assist women to escape this degrading and harmful industry.

"The Equality Model has been adopted in Northern Ireland, and has been embedded in Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and several other nations. It is past time the rest of the UK adopted it too. We call on the UK and Scottish Governments to make this a reality. Women across these islands deserve the strongest possible protection and support. It is crucial that we see progress in this area before the next International Women's Day in 2024.”

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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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