First man in UK to be jailed for trying to pay for sex

6th Jul 2018 - Public Affairs

A County Armagh man has become the first person in the UK to be jailed for attempting to pay for sexual services since a law banning it was introduced in Northern Ireland.

The defendant has been given a three month custodial sentence and is required to pay £500 in compensation directly to the victim. The judge believed a custodial sentence was required because (a) it was "predatory" behaviour to fulfill the "egotism" of the defendant (b) he put a vulnerable woman through a full contest. The defendant will appeal, but the Judge warned him that the sentence can go up as well as down.

Paying for sex became illegal in 2015 after the assembly passed the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where it is illegal, although MPs in Scotland, England and Wales have urged the Government to follow in Northern Ireland's footsteps and inttroduce similar laws to criminalise the purchase of sex.

CARE Spokesperson:

“CARE is pleased to see the PSNI and PPS utilising the offence contained in the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act 2015 to bring about justice.

“We hope this provision will continue to be used to protect the most vulnerable from sexual exploitation across Northern Ireland.

“CARE welcomes the strong message this sends out, that sexual exploitation is not tolerated in Northern Ireland.

“On Wednesday MPs across the House told the Government that paying for sex should be made illegal, and Britain should follow Northern Ireland’s example to do so.

“This conviction reinforces the effectiveness of this legislation and the need for it.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

For more on the debate in Parliament on criminalising the purchase of sex see here: https://www.care.org.uk/news/latest-news/mps-tell-government-paying-sex-should-be-made-illegal-britain

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