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Scottish Government 'dragging its heels' on purchase of sex law change

Commercial Sexual Exploitation
6 February 2024
Woman looking out window trafficking

CARE has welcomed a new strategy from the Scottish Government that aims to assist women to exit prostitution but urged ministers to stop 'dragging their heels' on measures design to target sex buyers.

Today, the government announced a national hub that will "bring together specialist services which support women affected by commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) – linking them more closely with local services, such as housing, health and social security".

A Ministerial foreword to the new strategy states that: "Lessons learnt from the piloting of the Strategy will help inform any future legislative considerations, including whether to criminalise the purchase of sex."

Michael Veitch, Scotland Policy Officer at CARE, said:

"There is much to welcome in this new srategy from the Scottish Government, including a fresh recognition that prostitution is a form of violence against women. However, it is disappointing to learn that calls for a specific law criminalising sex buyers have not been heeded.

“A leading form of violence against women in our society is the purchase of their bodies for sex by men. Yet today, the purchase of sex inexplicably remains within the law. Human traffickers and other criminals benefit from this lack of action. Many charities and campaigners are urging action.

“We would ask the Scottish Government to stop dragging its heels and introduce legislation that punishes men who pay for sex, creating a clear deterrent and making it clear that this exploitative manifestation of gender-based violence has no place in a modern Scotland.

"We can become the second nation of the UK to introduce progressive and compassionate legislation of this kind after Northern Ireland, which based its law on long a standing approach in the Nordic countries.”

About CARE for Scotland

CARE for Scotland is a social policy charity, bringing Christian insight to the policies and laws that affect our lives.

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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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